Saturday, August 22, 2009

This Old Gal

I figured she must have been the oldest bee in the hive. I found her on the ground a short distance away, staggering as she walked.

It's sad finding bees on the ground because usually by then they're at their last hours of life. She was one of these. From the way she was struggling to even walk I could tell her time was near an end.

I picked her up. The least I could do was put her on the landing platform near the hive. Maybe from there she might make her way back inside. At least she could spend her last bit of time with her hive mates.

I was astounded at her condition. This bee could certainly tell some stories. She had bits of grit dug in around her compound eyes and head. Her fur, what little she had left on her body was wet and plastered to her. The surface of her black thorax was all pitted and no longer smooth. If only she could talk to tell of her journey of her trials and joys. How many flowers did she visit in her lifetime?

Her abdomen was no longer furry or fuzzy, her toil in the fields would have worn away the fuzz of a young bee. Instead her black stripes were very prominent against her golden yellow ones, darkened with age.

It was growing darker, on a rainly overcast day. I wished there was more light so I could see her better and get a decent photo. She looked like she had only one antennae. Maybe the other was plastered to her head from the rain. It was obvious she'd been caught in a rain shower, that would account for all the grit attached to her body. I imagine the rain would have pinned her to the ground. She was too weak and unable to fly home so she walked.

She came home. Once last time.

I set her on the landing platform and she stayed there. She didn't try to go inside the hive but instead turned to face outward to the world beyond.

Somehow that seemed to be the right thing for her to do.
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