Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Simple Suggestion #126... Listen for bees

Bees are among my favourite creatures. It's taken me most of my life to be able to say that, as, when I was young, a small boy at a campground where we were staying somehow got into a hornet's nest or a wild bee colony, and the sound of his screams still echoes in my memory. I was afraid of anything that buzzed for a long time... until I had children of my own and determined that they would not carry their mother's phobias.

So from the time they were little, I taught my girls to watch bees, and listen for them as they visited the poppies in our yard. I often find one daughter or another paying rapt attention to a little fuzzy black and yellow insect as it finds its way in and out of flowers, collecting nectar and sharing pollen around. The girls aren't afraid, but they do respect bees, especially since Julia was stung once. She was perhaps five, and came screaming into the house, showing me where it hurt. Uncertain what to do, I called my mom, who reminded me of an email that had been making the rounds, saying, "Put a copper penny on a bee sting." So I did, and within minutes, the welt was gone and Julia was back to her happy little self. So there's something to file away in your first aid folder!

This month, the David Suzuki Foundation has a 30x30 Challenge campaign on, encouraging people to get out into nature for at least 30 minutes each day in June. Spending time in nature has been proven beneficial to our physical, mental and emotional health... and I think listening for bees fits right in there, too. Bees are quiet and unobtrusive, and nature wouldn't manage nearly so well without them. They carry lessons for us, too. In particular, I'm thinking of the one in Mary Poppins' song Just a Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down:
The honey bees that fetch the nectar from the flowers to the comb
never tire of ever buzzing to and fro,
because they take a little nip from every flower that they sip
and hence, they find their task is not a grind.
So today's suggestion is to find a field of dandelions, or a patch of blooming chives like I did, and sit still and pay attention to the bees as they humbly go about their work. Their short wings and fuzzy back ends make them seem like little bumbling clowns, and their happy hum while I was taking pictures has made a rather grey day into one that seems a little sunnier, somehow. They do so much, and thanklessly, that they deserve a little appreciation... and we all feel better when we take a nature break. Guaranteed!

Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

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