THE WILLS AND WAYS OF THE BEEKEEPERS OF LA’LAC:
An Attempted Anthropological Report of These Most Curious Creatures
by Monday St Junious
I’ve travelled in La’Lac for forty-three days now, forty of which were spent lost, of which another 13 hopelessly so, until finally, I was found by the very strangest of creatures. I have named them simply the Beekeepers, for they are surrounded constantly by the buzzing insects.
At first one sees them and is taken aback at their alien shape and faceless visage. One Beekeeper shares only some features with its comrade, though a crowd of them together, as I first encountered upon entering their lands, makes an indistinguishable mass of flax and wicker… I shrunk back from their unusual sight but knew in my mind, even without the need for words, that they meant me no harm and followed them as they indicated.
Certainly, in the state of despair that I was, seeing them did nothing to alleviate my hopelessness - they were merely strange creatures populating an otherwise mundane landscape. It was not until I had spent a day or two recovering, watching their movements and the calming expanse of sky above and pastoral scenes below that I was able to truly take in their uniqueness.
It has now been a week since my last chronicle, and my recovery has gone very smoothly. In the context of my previous note in which Beekeeper society recalls the work of Pieter Brueghel, they offer me a much-needed reminder that though our human tribe may be torn by war, political intrigue and environmental disaster, it is certainly not our natural state, and many observers have throughout our history noted our propensity for peaceful cooperation, sharing, and (commonality with nature). The Beekeepers have become for me a sort of utopian mirror to which I can compare and reflect on our society.
Indeed, in many ways they remind me of human society. They are laborious, and certainly productive in their own ways - the bustle of their simple village recalls any human township. However, importantly, in my ten days here I have seen no want or lack unattended to, or any paupers as those one might encounter in a human city, begging on the street - a forced facelessness worse than any of these masked creatures’ lot. Furthermore, the pace and energy with which they pursue the tasks before them is leisurely and with an air of calm certainty that the task will be done, without, I note somewhat wryly, any need for quarterly incentives or management.
I have been here a fortnight and made a discovery most surprising!
They hold for me no longer a metaphoric status as communal and cooperative creatures but are quite literally thus, for it appears that the Beekeepers are composed of the very bees they keep! They are not individuals collected into a community, but cadres of bees collected into individuals, in turn collected as a community in their common goal!
I use the word ‘cadre’ not in any foreboding reference to the forced labour groups of ancient Sovietica, but simply because they seem to embody (quite literally) the concept of homo faber - if homo here can mean humanoid, as well as human - indeed I am tempted to speak of them as ‘same’ in every sense of the word. I think they are us; an ideal, idyllic, utopian us.