Just like my beautiful Proust – who reminisced his way through an entire 6 volumes of In Search of lost Time – triggered by a taste from his childhood, I am hoping that the scent of a beehive will in future bring back these memories of my happy beekeeping early days. I only realised I could smell this aroma yesterday after closing up the hive from the inspection – and going back to check on the bees, the most intense gorgeous aroma could be smelt from at least 6 feet away. The closer you got – it was undeniably from the hive, with tones of delicious honey. I was that excited I rushed to get everyone in the house to come and have a smell and they could all smell it. Upon some quick research on google – I found that it’s one of the ways to keep an eye (or nose) on a healthy hive. Apparently a diseased hive has a very sour smell. The scent has been described as not just honey but a combination of everything going on in the hive, pollen, nectar, honey, wax – just everything mixed together in this sweet warm delicious scent. I’m very very excited to have discovered this for the first time. Here’s a passage from Marcel Proust early on in his first book Swann’s Way.
Many years had elapsed during which nothing of Combray, save what was comprised in the theatre and the drama of my going to bed there, had any existence for me, when one day in winter, as I came home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines,’ which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell. And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate, a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, but individual, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory–this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it was myself. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, accidental, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I was conscious that it was connected with the taste of tea and cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could not, indeed, be of the same nature as theirs. Whence did it come? What did it signify? How could I seize upon and define it?