Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday, 22 June 2008 - Bees in the garden

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for bees in the garden.

M, our Air Force Academy cadet friend, just back from his out-of-state internship, tours the backyard garden. He remarks about how much has changed during his three-week absence. The new plantings: tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. The new blooms that splatter bright colors throughout the yard.

Mostly, he's impressed by all the bees. He is very concerned about the reports of declining bee populations.

I tell M my bee story. Well, not mine, but Barbara Kingsolver's. The one she relates in The Poisonwood Bible. How the stubborn missionary plants his garden in the Congo, applying cultivation principles that worked perfectly in the United States. He ignores any gardening advice from the locals. The plants grow and blossom but no vegetables appear. He's puzzled by this unexpected result. In time, he realizes the problem: no bees in the Congo. No bees means no pollination and no vegetables. The next year, he painstakingly pollinates the plants by hand.

So, in my Colorado garden, bees are a welcomed sight. And, I'm experiencing no shortage year. All shapes and sizes - from tiny sweat bees to familiar honey bees to super-sized "big buzzies" - visit daily for a nectar feast.

Fortunately, no bee has ever attacked or stung me while I weed, water or plant. Guess they know better than to assault the hand that feeds them.

During the day, I often stop along the narrow garden path and listen. Above the breeze's soft whisper and the finches' sporadic chirps, I hear a constant low buzzing sound. I smile. The bees are here in force, diligently conducting their daily business in my garden.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photo: This sedum's bright yellow flowers are bee magnets.

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