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Photo courtesy of Terra Brockman

The winter life of bees

Social order in the hive

On our small, diverse farms in central Illinois, walking aimlessly is a luxury reserved for the winter months, when the past season’s roller coaster has slowed almost to a stop and the new season’s marathon has yet to begin. At this quiet cusp of the seasons, there is ample time in the short days to hike through woods and over streams, and even more time to contemplate life, forward and back, during the long nights.

On one of January’s crisp, bright mornings, I went for a walk in the sparkling snow. I had no particular purpose in mind but knew, as Frost wrote, “how way leads on to way . . .”


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