Hannah’s writing career began in 1975 when she won a “I’m Glad I Live in Washington D.C.” essay contest as a second grader and vowed to become a writer. She covers environmental and outdoor topics and writes general news and cultural pieces about the American West.
I was excited when Hannah asked me to shoot her portraits for her first book, The Beekeeper’s Lament: A Life on the Road with 10,000 Hives. She is currently tweaking the final edits of the book and it is due to hit the shelves next spring. So keep an eye out for it. If you want, I might be able to get it autographed for you.
Here is a little teaser on The Beekeeper’s Lament: A Life on the Road with 10,000 Hives from the author.
John Miller is a beekeeper, a passionate and engaging and very funny man who does something very strange for a living: he travels the country with 10,000 beehives, pollinating crops and making honey and doing anything and everything to keep his bees alive in the middle of a strange and sobering honeybee die-off.
John Miller is a fourth-generation beekeeper. His great-grandfather, N.E. Miller, pioneered the practice of “migratory beekeeping”–chasing the bloom across the country with his bees, from south to north and back. It is a profession uniquely suited to the diversity of the American landscape, the bigness of American agriculture and industry, and the restlessness of the American people. Like retirees in Winnebagos, migratory beekeepers winter in warm places like California and Texas and Florida, and head north to the clover and alfalfa fields of the Dakotas in the summer where the best honey pasture is found, pollinating crops as they go.
But it is becoming harder and harder both to keep bees alive and to keep bee businesses afloat, because the same migratory practices that have allowed beekeepers to make a living have also spread strange new pests and pathogens from all over the world, which are killing bees in alarming numbers. Still, Miller persists, for reasons that defy all common sense and economic logic. The love of the bee is an impractical passion: in this age of convenience, John Miller has chosen to do something very, very hard.