I confess I am a total city girl, so when it comes to experiences of the raw natural kind, I am disproportionately thrilled.
Today I ate poop, and can you believe it, I loved it!!
Wait! Now, before you get all grossed out, let me explain. I ate a honeycomb made from beeswax for the first time.
This morning as I sat in front of my laptop, listening to yet another online session, the doorbell rang. A young man, his lower face covered with a bandana asked me to close the windows. He explained that the beehive outside the Hindu temple, near my house, was being broken and there was a risk of the bees entering through the windows. These are indeed strange times; we readily believe people whose faces we can’t even see. I wonder sometimes if this global pandemic will strengthen or weaken our faith in people? We find ourselves believing in people we’d be hard pressed to identify later, when they take their masks off. But, I digress. I nodded my thanks and closed the door, to return to the online lecture. A moment later the bell rang again. The same man stood there, asking if I would be interested in buying some honey? Though I had had earlier experience of having tasted shop-bought-claiming-to-be-raw-honey, I had never truly consumed raw honey freshly-squeezed from a beehive, in all of my city-slick-life before. Ever ready for novel experiences I said yes, and as an afterthought requested him to also fetch me a piece of the broken beehive. I have of course seen images of hives on the internet and from several meters away and below, nevertheless I thought it would be nice to see one up close. I suppose I was expecting to see the perfectly formed hexagons that pinterest would have us believe of beehives. The man returned after a few minutes, with a vessel filled with honey and a disappointingly small piece of honeycomb. No hexagons.
He said, I could chew on it, like chewing gum, he added in response to my quizzical look. I thanked him, paid him, after he was gone poured the golden dark brown thick liquid in a glass jar, screwed the lid tight on it and settled down to examine the curious yellow textured delight in front of me.
It sported a few dead bees. I said a small prayer, asking for their forgiveness, thanking them for their industriously collected honey and gently pulled them out from their tubular confines.
The online session forgotten by now, of course I continued to be present and remained respectfully mute with camera off, as I tore off a small piece from the beeswax and chewed on it….. Oooh! it was pure manna!! What a delicious piece of heaven! Like liquid gold for the palate, soft and luxurious. I chewed on it, savouring the texture and relishing the sweet liquid released with every munch. Soon enough the wax ran dry and I had to spit it out when there was no sweet squeeze left to it… like chewing gum!
As I masticated on the honeycomb and my wayward thoughts, it suddenly occurred to me, that wax is bee poop! Young bees release wax from their abdomens and adult female worker bees use this excreted wax to build the hives. They do this by softening the wax by chewing, converting it into small malleable circles, placing them next to one another, and then simultaneously mould it with their hind part, by entering into it rear end first and then increasing their body’s thermal temperature, thereby creating the tubular shaped wax cells that fuse with one another. These cells are then used to nurture fertilized and non-fertilized larvae and to store honey or pollen.
I could have spit the wad out at the mere thought that I was chewing on something that was excreted by another living thing, instead I chewed on it some more savouring the blog it would become.
Kopi luwak anyone?