Two weeks ago it happened. Pansies, somewhat dilapidated but I didn’t care. They were semi green and not too wilty. They had to be rescued. (Which reminds me: remember last year, about this same time, I told you about the three Wal Mart orchids I rescued from certain death? All are in about-to-bloom phase. Should be happening within the week. Success!)
So, the pansies. 3 six packs. Brought them home and made them cozy in their new abodes. To thank me, they’ve been blooming and budding and getting greener. Makes me very happy.
A week later my green thumb heart is made even happier at the sight of herbs in a local nursery. Finally! The window box beneath my kitchen window is reserved for herbs. There's only one dilemma: deciding which to buy. I go with four favorites - Italian oregano, lavender, cilantro and rosemary. The box can hold more but I have to allow for growing space.
The day I plant them – have to wait out two thunderstormy days, grrr – is sunny, cool, in short, Perfect. Standing on a step stool is necessary for me to reach the box. So I’m up there, highest of the two steps, deciding on the best arrangement for the herbs when I hear a sound. A low, droning sound.
This is when I tell you that this post is not about planting herbs or flowers. It’s about bees. Two in particular.
Being that my hearing is reliably unreliable, I think the sound is a small aircraft or a boater out on the lake. Suddenly it becomes louder and is coming from my left. I look in that direction and have to grip the window box to keep from rearing back and falling off the step stool. I am right about the small aircraft. A small aircraft, aka, Bee, is just a couple feet away, level with my nose. Not a bumblebee. A carpenter bee. How do I know the genus of this bee? you're wondering. I've witnessed them making "nests" by tunneling into wood railings, leaving chips of wood and wood dust in their wake. Like a hovering helicopter this one maintains a steady altitude, not altering direction a fraction of an inch. If it hadn’t been so up close and personal I might have admired its creepy hovercraft simulation. Should I step down slowly? Make a run for it? Show no fear? I braced for it to charge, but only for a second. The fear of having a stinging dart plow into my face was erased when another carpenter bee zoomed past and the first one, the starer, gave chase.
Feeling relief yet a tad ridiculous that I’d been unnerved by a confrontational bee, I return to my herbs. Long enough to plant one before the bee pair return. This time they keep their distance while performing a swooping and diving acrobatic routine that has me spellbound. For several minutes I watch these aerial gymnastics until one zipped off and landed on a blooming thorn bush. The other bee looked on in that frozen in mid-flight maneuver, attention riveted. When the flower lander lifted off, the other took chase. This behavior was repeated many times before resuming their tumbling sequences. With one herb left to plant, the pair (I’m now thinking of them as "a couple" because it’s evident they’ve been engaging in amorous apian activity) they come to a jolting halt in exactly the same spot as the single bee first had: inches from my face, level to my nose, but they’re looking at each other, not me. A stare down. Bee face to bee face.
I feel like I’m intruding on a private moment of bee love.
“Excuse me,” I say respectively. “Am I in your way?”
Neither answered which is really too bad because I’d love to know what a bee’s speaking voice sounds like.
Any such artful demonstrations of intimate behavior going on in your part of the world?