the metropolitan hive lying to every point of the compass


Senior Member
San Diego, the eighth largest city in the country, was less than thirty miles and eighteen hundred feet of elevation away. Wherever at least a million people lived in close proximity to one another, a significant portion needed, on any given day, to flee the hive for a place of less busy buzzing.
The remoteness was an illusion, because the hive of Southern California remained quickly accessible to the west, and even in this less bustling inland empire, “small” towns like Perris and Hemet boasted seventy or eighty thousand residents each.
DURING THE PREVIOUS NIGHT, the valley had come to seem remote to her, as she wished it to be, a refuge beyond the horizon of the modern world, where the civilization of the mechanized hive did not encroach, where each individual could exist unto himself or herself, free from the forced intimacy of the digital collective—therefore safe.
Here in the gentler precincts of the valley, the quiet of the night was almost deep enough to suggest that the metropolitan hive lying to every point of the compass had been largely depopulated.
Source: The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz

What is your interpretation of the bolded phrase?

a hive of activity/industry: a place full of people who are busy.

Thank you.
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's based on the idea of a beehive. The people are like bees, swarming everywhere in and around the city and its surrounding area [metropolitan], to the north, south, east and west [every point of the compass].
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