Dancing with Bees – a Review

Sandy Felton reviews an entrancing book about our connection with nature and how important that interaction is to our daily lives.

I had only covered the first few pages of Brigit Strawbridge Howard’s book ‘Dancing with Bees – a journey back to nature‘ when I immediately felt a connection and a dawning truth about our relationship with nature.

Living in a beautiful part of the country as I do it is easy to take for granted all that nature and the natural world has to offer, to be blasé about it all, to accept that it is just there and yet fail to connect with nature as a companion.

As the author points out in the book, when she realised she knew more about the French Revolution than the native trees she walked past every afternoon on her way to work, realisation dawned. Through the delightful prose of her book, I feel sure this aspect of all our lives will find resonance with readers as well, for this eloquent memoir of reconnecting with the natural world and discovering a particular love for bees, is a pure delight.

A strong advocate for bees, wildlife gardener and naturalist Brigit speaks and campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of native wild bees and other pollinating insects. However, her book is not solely about bees, it encompasses wide-ranging observations of the natural world and its effect on us as individuals and how nature can be our constant companion helping us find a sense of ourselves.

Throughout the book we are fellow travellers on her observations and learning and that in itself has the effect of switching our attention away from the demands of our busy lives to really understanding and acknowledging our surroundings. Whether it’s seeking the great yellow Bumblebee or appreciating the many advantages of the Hawthorn, each chapter introduces us to the delights of the natural world around us and our place in it written in an entertaining and fluent style with bees taking centre stage.

The author includes an excellent Bibliography and useful list of organisations and websites. The book is delightfully illustrated by wildlife artist artist John Walters.

For Brigit, the bees are her window into nature, leading to the greater understanding and appreciation of the natural world she so yearns – by reading her book I also felt they had become mine. When I go out into our wonderful landscape in future I will be more minded to observe all around me rather than taking it for granted and of course I will always make sure to take care of our little friends the bees.

Dancing with Bees – a journey back to nature‘ by Brigit Strawbridge Howard, is published by Chelsea Green at £20.00.

A review copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher.