What can bees teach us?
The first thing a bee ever taught me is the secret of how the world wakes up after winter. It’s not what you think.
March here is cold and gruesome wet. During rain pauses I slog out to my dead-looking garden to do chores and look for any signs of spring.
Last year I was out planning where to put in deer fencing so I could peacefully grow flowers, when surprisingly I got buzzed. The biggest bee I’d ever seen, fully the size of sycamore fruit, was zooming around my head and landed near my foot. She tromped around and then her yellow bee-butt disappeared into a hole. She backed out of that and crawled under some brown leaves…and then took flight again. Curious what this bumblebee was up to, I followed her as she buzzed just inches off the ground. Again and again she landed, crawled in and out of holes, over and under fallen leaves, and buzzed off again.
The first few times it seemed a coincidence we were out together, but each time I went out she buzzed around me, I named her Lucy, a silly human thing to do. and looked forward to her company.
By the end of March, Lucy had tickled every square inch of ground with noisy buzzes and bug feet, and the changes we expect in spring were full on. Bulbs bloomed, trees quickened, and worms squiggled up deep roots to check things out topside. Then the blueberry flowers opened, followed by the rhoddies, and she was busily building her new family.
Spring came, not because days got longer and winter’s chill rolled back, but on the melody of bees. This bee and all bees had sweetly sang the ground back to life with promises of warmer days. They had moved the seasons forward.Lucy and her buzzy sisters are the secret sauce of spring.