May 21, 2006

Thoughts on a Hike Through the Woods

I could see the waist-high, burnished-gold flowers in the middle distance just beyond reach of the trail. They looked like a festively robed choir amid the green and I wondered why they were there and not here or anywhere else. Three miles of forest path had revealed no such flowers. Were the ground and growing conditions special or the seed itself? Was this a chance happenstance of bird or wind dropping the rare seed from which grew this quiet, riotous choir that visitors could reach only by sight? Or was it merely that the seed is everywhere and it was only in this special combination of soil, light, temperature and moisture that produced such singers?

"Busy as a bee" the cliche goes, though at one time it wasn't a cliche but a newly coined alliteration that had the added benefit of being true. I observed one today and he had a sense of urgency about his business. "Stop and smell the flowers" is another cliche, but flowers are a bee's business and they would be the last to take that advice. No talking shop for the bee population.

Honeybees were ubiquitous a generation ago. Now they are rare enough that perhaps soon children will have to take an old codger's word that "busy as a bee" is a truism. They'll have to accept it on faith.

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