The bees arrived the other day. When I came back from taking my daughter to an appointment, dear hubby was in the garage with the other daughter and a shoebox-sized screen container chock full of fuzzy, buzzy little bees. After some fussing and fiddling, the bees were released into their new home in the rear of our yard. I had spent the day planting an enormous number of flowers to welcome them home. The energy in the yard changed as the bees found their place in the new hive. It became calmer, more earthy, and happier. I felt a shift in my way of thinking about the little critters as I watched the grace with which they accepted their new surroundings and the gentleness they displayed to my husband, as he fiddled with getting them out of their travel container and into their hive box. They just went with it--no stings, no aggression. Just grace and calm. Soon, they had been dubbed, "The Girls."
We spent a couple of hours watching them explore and settle in before it got too dark. Then, just as we were calling it a night and preparing to go inside, hubby spotted a lone bee, sitting on the ground, on a flagstone patio in the yard. He told me that he thought she was an older bee by the look of her, and that she was dying. He put his bare hand down before her, and she immediately climbed up his finger and stayed. She must have been able to sense his intentions toward her, because she sat on his hand without a hint of fear, without any movement or distress. Even I, with a goodly fear of bees, was astonished at the gentle bond they made, and I approached and looked at her, closely. It was clear she was worn out, and these were her last moments.
He talked to her and tried to put her onto a flower in one of my patio pots, but she would have none of it. She kept backing up onto his hand, wanting to stay with him. After several tries, he nudged her off onto the flower, but she flitted to the ground again. When my husband tried to pick her up again, I told him he should leave her in the place she'd chosen to die. I said goodbye to her, feeling tears threatening to come. I felt sad that she'd wound up traveling hundreds of miles to be here, only to die without ever seeing the flowers I planted for her and her sisters, without ever seeing how excited my husband was to be their new caretaker. And in a funny way, I felt honored to have been there to share her last moments on Earth. I hope at least she could sense that she was welcome here, before she died.
Just a few months ago, I thought of bees with apprehension. Appreciation as well, of course, since intellectually, I realize how important they are to our food supply, but that's when they're "out there," doing their work, somewhere away from me. I'd never felt like I "knew" a bee; certainly never felt a connection with one. Now I have. Bees are different up close, when you can relate one on one and look at it without fear--when you can feel some empathy for what it must be going through. I suppose everything is.
It seems The Girls are going to be good for me.