Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Flight of the Bee

The natural world is fascinating.

I was driving Sydney to the babysitter yesterday when I came to a stop at a light. Lost in my own thoughts and bee-bopping to music on the radio, I noticed a honeybee land on my windshield and walk around, staying near the inspection sticker. I turned away to look at the lights (I was first in line), looked back, and assumed it had flown away.

Five minutes on to the interstate, I noticed it walking around again, desperately trying to hold on to the windshield. I cannot explain my thought process, but I can say that I automatically started to slow down a bit - even 3 miles an hour, I thought, would help it hold on so it wouldn't be hurt. I even contemplated pulling over early so it could fly away.

Let me preface the remainder of the story by explaining that in our area, the plight of the honeybee has been a hot topic lately. I think this may even be a national issue, but at least in this area, the honeybees have been disappearing. The bees are necessary for cross-pollination, honey production, etc. Needless to say, this knowledge certainly stayed on my mind as I watched the bee.

So, we're driving along. I'm trying to be "gentle" when changing lanes; I'm driving a few miles per hour slower than I normally do, and I am glancing at the bee in line with all my mirrors: rear view, road, side view, road, bee, rear view, road, side view, road, bee. It becomes a cadence with which I try to determine the health and safety of the honey bee on my windshield.

The bee, so intelligently, changed positions. It initially was facing my driver side mirror, body aligned horizontally with the car. After a few minutes, it turned, face towards the hood of my car and body pointed up the windshield towards the roof. By doing this, it became more aerodynamic and the threat of its wings being torn off by the force of the breeze reduced or eliminated. It remained in this position until I reached my destination.

Amazing watching this. As soon as I arrived at the sitter's, I obtained a long blade of grass, coerced it to climb on, and laid it safely in the grass. It wasn't there when I returned from taking Sydney inside. I know how smart bees are. I did a report on their dances when I was in middle school. But even knowing this information about them, I wonder at how well this one will find his way home. Regardless, I learned more about the honeybee yesterday, and I just wish Sydney were old enough (for this moment) to understand a discussion on it. Soon enough, though, we'll be examining the natural world together.

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