Nature's Place

Bee Odyssey

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It has been a tough season for the bees, with all the rain, constant and stuttering through the year and the apparent dearth of flowering plants – at least in the fields where I first found hundreds of them, now so few. Other, unnatural reasons too.

There have been more in my garden than I found in the wild, well enough I planned for it and kept something flowering, and something still – even though winter is upon us and the nights can be so cold, with a clear open star filled sky aswirl.

An occasional visitor now, so few to be seen, found atop the blue Salvia in search of nourishment, a resting place where the sun might strike come morning. I gave it a little honey and adjusted position for the light and warmth of the day, a warning.

We need our bees, not just for what they can do for us but for what they are and do of themselves in the order of things. We are the ones out of order, messing with what should be left alone, then messing again to correct our misguided interference – ad infinitum.

That’s just the way we are, until we are not. But what is it that wakes us? The pain of loss?

Oh well, then roll on … little beauty.

We’ll see …

Mark Berkery ……. Don’t forget to CLICK on any picture to enlarge it in a new tab – best in FireFox – for me

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Surprise, Surprise …

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… as I was picking at the Passion vine a couple nights ago – checking for resting or sleeping creatures, clearing dead leaves from the tangle and pocketing the ready fruit, I noticed a curious thing.

One of the leaves I picked was long dead and brown, dried out and curled up, but as it plunged to the ground where it would join in the mulch a bunch of tiny bees fell out and spilled around, almost unnoticed.

I didn’t know they were bees until I took a few shots, being only 12 to 15mm long – my eyes not that good anymore, if ever they were. Then I put what I could find at the base of the vine’s stem and threw on a few more leaves for cover on the cold night, to increase their chance of survival, having disturbed it myself.

The next day I had a look around the spot and there they were, back on the vine, gathered on two adjoining leaves, exposed to the warmth of the sun and the coming night sky – it’s been getting cold here in Brisbane, believe it or not. Clearly they were attracted to congregate but I couldn’t tell anything of where they began their little lives, maybe in some of the hollow stems I put in the vine to encourage the smaller creatures to nest, those that do.

I have not seen the like before, apparently social bees without a home, living on the wing as a ‘swarm’ of around twenty individuals – actually they are a communal bee, males in waiting for a female who nest ‘communally’ nearby, not ‘socially’. That’s what happens when in the garden, the forest or field, aware I am not alone, delightful things appear. The truth of fairies and elves living at the bottom of the garden, in fact they are everywhere but are not what is imagined from the storybooks of old. The magical is still here to be seen, awake to the possibility, restrained from thinking too much – necessities for presence.

Presence, that’s the difference between the rapacious and the sustainable. The former born of wanton indulgence of the machinations of mind, the latter born of knowing enough its consequences. The one follows the other, unfortunate it would seem but misfortune is an unsustainable condition of mind so we move on regardless …

Mark Berkery ……. Don’t forget to CLICK on any picture to enlarge it in a new tab – best in FireFox – for me

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