Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.
— Ray Bradbury, Introduction to Dandelion Wine (1957)
Setting down my carving knife, I marveled at the bumblebee intently exploring a rose of Sharon. Then, breaking from his busyness, he draped himself over the stamen and rested (top photo).
Knowing next to nothing about bees, I was free to take anthropomorphic delight in the idea that he was overwhelmed by the abundance of summer, or maybe had paused in gratitude. It’s nice to feel a connection with a bee.
I did not try to smell the bee; I like Ray Bradbury’s notion, untested.
That bee draping himself over the stamen brings Houseman back to mind…. “Down in lovely muck I’ve lain happy till I woke again.” Do you suppose he found a fermented flower?
Thanks for the A. E. Housman line, Scott. Your fermented nectar suggestion is my best guess as well.
Sorry, Alfred. There’s no e in your last name.
David: Long-time fan, first-time commenter. I love the phrase “he was overwhelmed by the abundance of summer, or maybe had paused in gratitude.” Reminds me of Emerson’s Divinity School Address: “In this refulgent summer, it has been a luxury to draw the breath of life.” (I had to look up the meaning of “refulgent” when I first read this: shining.) I thought of that sentence just the other week, watching bees on flowers. I love your digressions into natural history. They make perfect sense for someone whose work beautifully celebrates trees and organic forms.
Thank you for sharing those thoughts, Andy, and for making a connection to Emerson. His writing and ideas are incredibly inspiring to me. I would have had to look up “refulgent” too. What an innocent and lovely way to begin a speech that would get him banished from Harvard for thirty years!
Hope to hear more from you in the future.
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