“bees do have a smell, you know,
and if they don’t they should,
for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
-ray bradbury – dandelion wine
summer 2018, ann arbor
at my daughter’s house
getting ready to take the boys to a movie
i opened the freezer and looked for
something healthy and quick to eat before leaving
i chose what appeared to be
some quinoa/whole oats/ancient grains kind of thing
took off the top and heated it up
when i took my first bite i soon realized
there had been a mistake
on my part
it had a taste and texture that really didn’t register
as anything i had ever eaten before
vaguely familiar, but not so much
far from an ancient grain
and it did not taste good
though perhaps was healthy
i looked back again at the top
this time really looking
and saw that it was lightly labeled ‘bee wax’
no doubt from their hives in the backyard
“and what, socrates, is the food of the soul?
surely, I said, knowledge is the food of the soul.”
the bees could really use some help. in the last 10 years, a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder (ccd) has killed off huge numbers of honeybees around the world. it’s normal for beekeepers to lose 10–15 percent of their hives each winter, but beginning in 2006, beekeepers started reporting losses of 30–90 percent. scientists believe ccd may be caused by a combination of pesticides, parasites, and a decline in wildflowers as more and more land is developed.
this is where seedles come in. each “bomb” contains wildflower seeds packed in compost and brightly colored clay. “planting” them is easy: you just throw them on the ground and wait for the rain, sun, and soil to do their work. the candy-colored seed bombs “practically grow themselves,” says the company’s website.
there are six varieties, one for each region of the country, so bee lovers can be sure to plant native flowers that will thrive in their area.
seedles are the brainchild of ei ei khin and chris burley, a couple who initially hoped they could get people to plant a million flowers. they surpassed that number in 2014. in an email to mental_floss, burley (now the company’s “pollinator-in-chief”) said they’ve since set their sights higher: a billion flowers for the bees.
they are especially concerned about the interdependence between honeybees and our food supply. of 100 major american crops, 70 are pollinated by bees; without them, we might not have apples, almonds, carrots, or avocados. to encourage interest and awareness in the plight of the bees, seedles partners with local food companies to give out free seed bombs. because they’re pretty, simple, nontoxic, and foolproof, the seed bombs make great educational tools.
credits: seedles, mentalfloss, kathy horowitz
bee whisperer’s mom,
on our late summer walk
by the river.
my grandson/ her son,
on our early summer trip
by the lake.
genetics, gentle compassion, curiosity and nature at play.
“it is in our genes to understand the universe if we can,
to keep trying even if we cannot,
and to be enchanted by the act of learning all the way.”
― lewis thomas
f visits the garden
by the lake
to talk to the bumblebees
to see them up close
then befriends them
learn more about each other
full of calm and peace
and after they make
a short visit to his place
puts them back
where he found them
goodbye for now.
the garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.