'Aerodynamically, the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly,
but the bumblebee doesn't know that,
so it goes on flying anyway...'
[Mary Kay Ash]
One of my passions is to create gardens which support and feed local wildlife, insects and birds. I have been regularly self-seeding these Cassias [above] after observing a small seedling flower and noticing the attention its blossoms commanded from any number of life-forms.
To my continual surprise however [now having grown a number of these small trees which are presently in flower] it is the ever changing species of bee they attract that is giving me an unexpected sense of satisfaction and hope. From small black native bees, large bumbling bees, a vibrant orange bee with blue stripes - that I have spied just once [just long enough to snap a picture] and an array of brown and yellow pattered punters - these flowers are proving vibrant in far more than their colour.
It has taken me a week of failed attempts and many a blurred or unfocused image to arrive at the above pictures taken today. I am enchanted with the impressive size, fuzzy yellows and ambling nature of these particular bees. Yet when trying to photograph them I realised how busy they actually are; they work in a flurry, taking few moments to pause or rest. Not so much collecting pollen as frantically excavating it.
Watching these delicate masters of alchemy quietly and obsessively going about their work I am filled with both hope and fear for their future in our pesticide-laden present. Mass bee die-off's are being reported and worryingly it seems that few people understand the delicate balance between the the work of bees and the future feeding of our planet. Perhaps this is linked to the everyday reality of people heading to supermarkets to purchase their food, rather than growing foods at home. For anyone who has had to work at self-pollinating pumpkins in the absence of bees, it becomes clear just how generously we humans benefit from their industry.
So I am vowing to become a bee-keeper. In whatever small way I can, I hope to consider and promote the life of the bee. Whether it be through thoughtful gardening and planting, avoiding pesticides, encouraging hives, creating inspiring images, or spreading the word, I hope to help the bee to be.
On a planet that is now housing around seven billion people - we simply cannot replicate or afford to loose these industrious alchemists...
For more information about Australian Bees [and some incredible pictures] I have just found the following website and fb page:
“The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century……The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.”
[Achim Steiner, Executive Director UN Environment Programme (UNEP)]
'And now you ask in your heart,
"How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?"
Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees...'
[Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet]