PODCAST EPISODE 42: SezzaJai Sykes, beekeeper and poet, Alice Springs, Australia
A poem called ‘Exquisite Sensitivity’ by poet and beekeeper SezzaJai Sykes reads:
We all notice different things
Our pleasure and discomfort so personal.
I am Bee
I am orientated to the dark light center
And my edges are unique
I like my hive warm
I like the toffee honies
I prefer guard duty
I notice the dead pass out
I have 10,000 lovers
And long for points of balance.
Beekeepers are usually much more than just their job title. Beekeepers are, in my experience, complex souls, who have had ‘past lives’ (other careers and alternate life directions); who often found bees due to some kind of existential understanding that we as humans are deeply connected to the natural world. As bees epitomise that connection, it doesn’t surprise me that the vast majority of the beekeepers I know are sensitive, compassionate, creative and, in different ways, spiritual. There have been a handful of truly unique moments on the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast, and speaking and listening to SezzaJai Sykes – a beekeeper, poet, and “mystery navigator” – for episode 42 is one of them.
SezzaJai Sykes is one of 70 beekeepers living in Alice Springs (Mparntwe). For those outside Australia, Alice Springs is situated in the centre of Australia and is the third largest town in the Northern Territory. Characterised by red- and ochre-coloured sands, stunning and resilient flora, weeping gum trees and huge blue skies, this unique and picturesque desert location experiences extreme conditions – as SezzaJai explains, temperatures rise to 40 degrees Celsius during the day and drop to zero degrees at night. This makes ‘Alice’ a place with unique beekeeping requirements. In turn, the gorgeous yet dangerous (for bees) Rainbow Bee-eater is an issue facing local beekeepers.
Having worked extensively with bees in the UK, France, and New Zealand, SezzaJai now lives in Alice Springs where she has kept her bees, and written and published her beautiful poetry, for the last four years. Not to be missed, tune in to hear SezzaJai and I talk about keeping bees in central Australia, poetry, and finding inspiration in the natural world.