I have just learned that Kahlil Gibran (the beloved Lebanese philosopher poet) and Maurice Maeterlink, (poet/playwright/beekeeper) were friends back in turn-of-the-century Paris! I already loved that time period for its artists and thinkers, both here in American and over in Europe. What a time of intellectual and spiritual growth and a revolution in the expression of emotion and beauty. I shouldn't be so surprised that these two incredible men were also a part of this awakening.
The first time we read Maeterlinck's The Life of the Bee, we were both struck by the poetry of his sentiments, which in no way lessened his keen observations; they were still perfectly scientific and accurate. But he spoke with such admiration, using words of love and beauty in such a Gibranian fashion, it certainly makes sense now that they would have been chums. They were two cut from the same cloth.
Or as Kahlil said, "You are my brothers and sisters because you are human, and we all are sons and daughters of one Holy Spirit; We are equal and made of the same earth... Humanity, which you and I together share, is a brilliant river singing its way, And carrying with it the mountain's secrets into the heart of the sea."
Here is an example of the effect of Maurice upon Kahlil, as our beloved poet ponders our beloved insects:
"Some men would see the world with the eyes of God, And would grasp the secrets of the hereafter by means of human thought. But go instead into the field, and see how the bee hovers over the sweet flowers and the eagle swoops down on its prey... Be like the bee, and do not waste your spring days gazing on the doings of the eagle."
Now, I will open The Life of the Bee at random and leave you with just a taste of Maurice's wisdom and joy for beekeeping:
"And truly, underlying the gladness that we note first of all in the hive; underlying the dazzling memories of beautiful days that render it the store-house of summer's most precious jewels; underlying the blissful journeys that knit it so close to the flowers and to running water, to the sky, to the peaceful abundance of all that makes for beauty and happiness -- underlying all these exterior joys there reposes a sadness as deep as the eye of man can behold.
And we, who dimly gaze on these things with our own blind eyes, we know full well that it is not they alone whom we are striving to see, not they alone whom we cannot understand, but that before us there lies a pitiable form of the great power that quickens us also."