Admiration

The “bee bush” next to our driveway is in full bloom. I don’t know what kind of bush it is, but bee bush is an apt description. It’s what I’ve called it for all the years we’ve lived here. It’s a spectacle, covered in tiny pink flowers and visited by hundreds of bees at a time.

I admire these bees, in nearly equal measure to my daughter’s fear of them.

“Pull up farther,” I yelled at her yesterday, waving my entire right arm, like a police officer directing traffic, as she pulled into the driveway after school. Through the windshield I could see her shaking her head no.

“I’m not getting out anywhere near those bees,” she declared, stopping far short of where she normally parks.

She hates bees. I get it. It’s a common fear that I used to have myself. I still duck and run if they fly too close. To add to it, she has a vivid memory of stepping barefoot on a yellow jacket when she was a toddler. Yes, I know a yellow jacket is a wasp, not a bee, but that’s a distinction many people ignore. A stinger is a stinger and stingers hurt.

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I think they are honey bees, not bumble bees. They are definitely foragers, that’s their role in the hive. I don’t know if they’re gathering nectar or pollen or both, but I do know they have no interest in us humans.

I know this because I like to admire them up close—as close as I can get—and the bees could care less about my presence. They are too busy. I watch them fly in, grab what they need from one small blossom, then the next, and the next. They must visit dozens of blossoms (or more?) before they eventually fly off.

I often wonder where they go, and how far they travel to and from our bee bush. I’ve read it could be up to two miles. I imagine they must have a massive hive in a tree crevice somewhere in the greenbelt behind our house.

My neighbor, who lives on the other side of the bee bush, has asked several times whether he can remove it. While I admit it doesn’t have the most attractive foliage for much of the year, it’s worth keeping for this time of the year. Bee populations are declining worldwide. They need this bush and I’m happy to keep it for them—and for me.

I like to listen to the music their wings make. If the neighborhood is quiet I can hear their “buzz” from my porch.

I like their focus, their certainty and the way they work together for the common good of their hive. They are fascinating to watch.

I like that they know the answer to that eternal question that frustrates me daily. What question? Wait for it…it’s coming.

“Are you still watching those bees?” my daughter asked from the safety of the porch.

No, not that question.

“Yep, I’m trying to get a good picture for my blog.”

“Cool. Hey, what’s for dinner?”

That’s the one. That’s the eternal question I’m talking about.

It’s time for me to go forage.

(This post is in response to the WordPress Photo Challenge: Admiration.)

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Our bee bush. It’s hard to see the thousands of tiny pink blossoms from this distance, or the hundreds of bees.

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