Our neighborhood streets are treacherous right now — icy ruts surrounded by berms of frozen snow. I’ve been wearing Yaktrax for our daily walks with Emma, but they’re uncomfortable when walking on clear pavement, so today I convinced myself there’d been enough meltage that they weren’t necessary.
Wrong. Just minutes from home and the end of our two-mile walk, I was suddenly on my butt in the street. And now I’m grumpy. My left knee is sore from being twisted and my neck and shoulders have that jammed-up feeling that comes from trying to break a fall.
So what’s the remedy? A little yoga plus a warm memory from last June:
I remember sitting next to the Lamb’s Ear that day, photographing the busy bees as they went about their pollinating business. Someday soon, I’ll be back in my happy place in the backyard. It’ll be me, the perennials, and a whole lot of bees.
But no ice.
Whatever you’re doing today, I hope the experience includes beauty. But just in case, here’s a little gift from me to you.
I photographed this on the Oh Be Joyful Trail, which seems very fitting. Here’s to the joy of our beautiful natural world!
I photographed this bee in the open space in early July and hadn’t looked at the image since. But I was intrigued enough just now to go down the online research rabbit hole. “Green bee” gave me too many hits, but “metallic green bee” narrowed the responses.
July 2, 2022
I’m pretty darned sure this is a Hymenoptera-Halictidae-Agapostemon melliventris, otherwise known as the Honey-tailed Striped Sweat Bee.
Oh, and that pink thing is a thistle. Just kidding . . . it’s a Musk Thistle (Nodding Thistle).
Today I’m grateful for many things, including the pollinators in my backyard. Here’s a sampling of the different species I spotted. A hardworking honey bee on the fern bush:
A cheery bumble bee tucked deep in one of the many sunflowers blooming right now:
I believe this is a rusty spider wasp (a better image than what I captured last summer):
And a black wasp that was very, very busy — moving from bloom to bloom and then suddenly circling my head before flying away over the sunflowers and out of sight:
No butterflies or hummingbirds in this session, despite this being The Summer of Hummingbirds. I’ve heard and seen more hummingbirds these past months than the twenty-five years I’ve lived here.
A little reminder to focus on the tiny, intricate miracles all around us.
September 12, 2020
This sedum isn’t blooming right now and I doubt many bees are currently buzzing in my yard, but . . . someday soon. In the meanwhile, I can gaze upon this image and will my mind and system into calm. *deep breaths* Maybe it can do the same for you. 💚
Here are two of my favorite things: honey bees and lavender.
July 18, 2019
We still have a few late-blooming stalks of lavender (this photo was taken a couple summers ago), but not a lot of bees around. Which is why I was surprised over the weekend while reading outside on a bench I’d pushed up against the side of the house to avoid the wind. Surrounded by concrete and brick, engrossed in the pages, I became aware of a faint buzzing that got louder and louder. A honey bee flew next to my outstretched leg before landing on my arm and then my chest. After a brief pause there, it flew to my collar. Much closer to my ear (bzzzz bzzzz ). And face.
Bees fascinate me more than freak me out, however, I admit to feeling a bit nervous about this buzzing visitor. Still, I maintained my calm, congratulating myself on the chill attitude. Until . . . the honey bee moved down to the end of my sleeve and crawled in my sleeve. Chill attitude officially over! I shrieked and shook my arm to dislodge the bee, which seemed to take forever due to the layers I wore.
When the bee safely flew away-away, I chided myself for panicking. And then I remembered the terrifying bees-in-clothing experience I had years ago, and cut myself slack.
Fortunately, this latest bee interaction was entirely friendly and bees still rank among my very favorite things.
Emma and I ran on the trails this morning. It was my first outdoor exercise in over a week because of the horrific air quality. While the morning’s AQI wasn’t Great, I just couldn’t take another treadmill session. Running outside felt like a reasonable trade-off between lung health and mental health. I brought water for us and we did a mellow 3-miles with me urging her on most of the way. Halfway through the run, she pooped. I scooped it into a rice cake bag, knotted it off, and tied the bag to her collar. It’s tricky enough holding her leash while trail-running (sudden stops and detours really increase the likelihood of wipe-outs) and adding a poop sack was more than I could handle. The good news is Emma didn’t really seem to notice. (I did feel like a bad human-friend once we got back on the streets and ran past people from the neighborhood, Emma’s poop sack swinging for all to see.)
When we returned home, I saw a missed call from Wildebeest. I called back and we ended up conversing for nearly two hours about all sorts of things. While talking, I took my camera outside and continued our conversation on speaker phone as I photographed the zillions of bees on the fern bush.
I eventually told Wildebeest what I was doing, knowing he might freak out or, at the least, get really twitchy and itchy. (When he was a teenager, he got stung by a bee while at outdoor camp and was taken to the nearest hospital where he was jabbed with an epi pen. As bee sting reactions go, his wasn’t uber-serious. Yes, his throat did close a bit but, in his words, he had plenty of time to get to the hospital.) Turned out, my announcement didn’t send him spiraling. However, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have waded into the fern bush with me to get close-up shots.
And I know for a fact he would’ve steered clear of this specimen:
Yikes. A quick online search for “red wasp” tells me this species isn’t even supposed to be in Colorado?? And I saw several of them on the bush??
Sweet housing project
best to let them bee
August 7, 2021
It’s been a hard day and I’m trying to accomplish tasks here and there in order to stay out of my head. Weeding the front flower beds, laundry, and vacuuming. Reading and writing a tiny bit. Kissing sweet Emma on the head. While all those things were constructive and helpful, they aren’t enough. That’s why I’m posting this photo — so that I can revisit the peaceful image as needed.
Lamb’s Ear and honey bee. July 3, 2021
And I invite anyone in need of a break from the stresses of reality to do the same.
Hayden Green Mountain Park. June 24, 2021
Nature promotes mutualism. The flower nourishes the bee. The river waters quench the thirst of all living beings. And trees provide a welcoming home to so many birds and animals. There is a rhythm to this togetherness. ~ Ram Nath Kovind
I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
Canada Goose on nest at Sawhill Ponds. May 6, 2021
It feels as if there’s been an acceleration of the cruelty and inhumanity happening in the world and while I feel the need to bear witness to the suffering (notably that which is sponsored by my government to the tune of $10 million/day which allows Israel to commit genocide against Palestinian people), it wears me down. Nature helps me keep going. Nature is my refuge.
As always, I am exceedingly grateful for its many splendors.
I took this photo a year ago today. As I recall, it was a balmy day filled with bird songs and busy bees. We were in the early days of the pandemic and communing with backyard nature was balm for my soul.
April 27, 2020
Today, plenty of birds are singing on this cool and rainy day. However, the shrub in the photo is behind last year’s schedule –buds still folded up tight –and I’ve yet to see a bee in the yard. We’re still experiencing a global pandemic, but the blooms and bees are on their way. And when they arrive, I’ll be out there again, drinking in all their glory.
I miss the bees and am looking forward to when they return to perform their vital work in my yard. Here’s a little sample of what’s in store for the coming months:
August 4, 2020
Yesterday (March 7!), Zippy removed the lights from the locust tree in our front yard. We’d stopped turning them on several weeks ago but left them wrapped around the trunk. I could lie and say it was because the bulbs provided bits of much-needed color in the brown/gray landscape. Really, it’s because we procrastinate. Either way, now that the holiday lights are gone, I’m ready for spring. Bring on the bees and blooms!
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few. ~ Emily Dickinson
July 18, 2019
While this photo is of a bee and lavender (not clover) in my yard (rather than the prairie), the image still induces a reverie.
Bee and Fern Bush, August 4, 2020
The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them. ~ Saint Francis de Sales
May 16, 2020
Color from the past
warm refuge on this gray day
one poppy two bees
It’s a beautiful day in Colorado on this, my birthday. The snow is melting due to sunshine and a balmy 50 degrees.
August 4, 2020.
Late November always presents a mental health challenge and I struggle to summon the enthusiasm for these days. However, I got up and hoop-danced this morning which felt very good. And, as always, it lifts my spirits to gaze upon a cheery sunflower. This one bloomed several months ago and I award the image bonus points for that busy, busy bee. Happy birthday to me.
Yesterday, Zippy told Wildebeest a story from when we lived in Alaska (before Wildebeest was born). It was a summer night, and Zippy and our dog Packy were out in our large yard where there was a pile of branches and grass clippings left by the previous owners. (We, being basically lazy people, had left it there with the rationale that it provided wildlife habitat). Zippy noticed something white in the branches, something he thought was a volleyball.
He proceeded to poke at the “volleyball” with a stick. (I know, I know. Who arms themselves with a stick when approaching a piece of sports equipment?)
Well, you can guess what happened. BEES!
Zippy yelled, “Run, Packy! Run!” The bees swarmed them as they ran to the safety of the house.*
As I listened to his story, a memory tickled my brain. And then I remembered: Have I Got a Story for You. Read it and weep (with laughter).
*Zippy wasn’t stung and as far as we know, no stingers penetrated Packy’s thick fur.
September 12, 2020
Bee and butterfly
treading lightly on this earth
we could do the same
Earlier this week, I prepared for the coming massive drop in temperature (over 60 degrees in 24 hours) and snowstorm by putting buckets over three of my sedum plants. The sedum had just come into bloom and I couldn’t bear thinking about the bees and butterflies losing that food. While we did lose a huge limb from our red maple, the plants fared better.
September 12, 2020
The sedum survived and my winged friends were out in force today.
(Shout-out to Michelle who would’ve been fifty years old today. She also loved flora and fauna.)