The bees are organizing


Ok… yeah… the title of this is misleading.

Obviously, the bees are organizing. That can’t really be a surprise to me, or to you. Can it?

Have you ever considered what a colony of bees actually does? Have you ever watched bees moving around?

Which brings on a result where, the idea that they are organizing, offered from my observational perch, tends to be very misleading as a written statement. It might be read as though I’m stunned bees are organized… or as some type of warning that the bees are on to something specific and taking action… when in reality I am looking at it as catching on to some of the things taking place around us that go on all the time but we tend to miss them. In an effort to defend my shock and concern about this development, allow me to shift this essay over to a group of turkeys. (Excuse me… a rafter of turkeys.)

Several weeks ago, just before the summer officially began according to calendar announcements of such seasonal officialness, Terry and I began watching some turkeys that were appearing in our yard. And then they began showing up again and again, once or twice a week.

There were seven of them. They’d show up on one day first thing in the morning. They’d show up on another early in the evening. Once, we were treated to a parade along the brush line out back around noon. They’d stroll on across the yard. Sometimes side to side. Sometimes front to back. Every so often there’d be an extended pause in the movement as they’d settle in to a particular spot for twenty to thirty minutes or so. Then they’d be gone… into a neighbor’s yard, or if feeling particularly cute they’d strut on along a dirt road next to our yard. (I wanted to have some fun way of saying they walked away and went with strut. They just weren’t moving fast, so trot wasn’t going to work. Strut is fine.)

Eventually there were some new developments in the summer of turkeys. Simply put… we counted ten of them.

Ten turkeys.

Not seven. Ten.

Since Terry and I aren’t experts, and have never headed out to try and identify the turkeys individually, we figured some other turkeys had shown up and joined the group. (Sorry… not group… rafter. Parliament of owls… cackle of hyenas… risk of lobsters… crash of rhinoceroses… band of gorillas… rafter of turkeys. That crash of rhinoceroses makes a lot sense. I like that one. Ok… rafter… back to it…)

A few days later, we again counted seven in the yard. By this time, we were wondering if it might be two separate rafters. And, for the remainder of the summer days, they would alternate in random ways. Ten this day. Seven the next. Ten, then ten, then seven. Seven, then ten, then seven.

(Now… here’s the twist that kind of shifts things over to the wonders of organization, and potentially back to the bees.)

Yesterday… twelve.

Twelve turkeys in the yard.

What the heck?

The numbers are increasing, the rafter is larger, something is going on here. What are these turkeys doing? Do they live in the woods way out back? Is it one rafter that’s growing in size? Are there three rafters out there? Is it one rafter, moving together… organized?

Have you ever found a bee in your house?

Sure you have. Just walking from one room to another, you hear the buzzing and begin to look around, and then there it is. A bee.

For the most part, other than doing something to get rid of it, not a big deal.

(We pause here to say this: Easy folks. Just calm down. Maybe we opened a window or a sliding door, grabbed a few sheets of paper, and gently guided the bee outside. Nothing violent or disturbing had to happen. The bee is fine now. Bee’s gone. Everything’s good. Until…)

An hour later you spot another bee in the house.

Maybe it’s in the same room. Maybe… maybe… the second bee is actually on the same piece of furniture or decoration. Ever spot multiple bees on the same thing inside your house?

If you spot two or more bees in a short span of time, and all of them are on the same wall clock, in the back of your mind a thought is bouncing around telling you to both check behind the clock and absolutely under no circumstances check behind the clock.

I mean, two bees on the same clock. THREE bees on the same clock. Look out everyone, the bees are in the house and THEY ARE ORGANIZING!

And there we go. The bees are organizing.

Every so often I’ll grab a seat in my yard. Sit down and listen and watch and enjoy a bit of the day as it passes. Can be amazingly enjoyable.

And once in a while there will be a bee buzzing around. Might be checking out the pots of flowers decorating the deck. Might be just flying around. And usually, if it seems interested in a particular spot, you can figure out why. Blooms looking wonderful and healthy. Hummingbird feeders freshly filled. But then…

Then you spot one disappearing under the deck or under a loose board on the garage or into a shrub. And then you spot another. And another. And another… and is that opening on the shrub where it disappeared more of a well-worn bare spot a few inches wide? And then another… and it’s a full-blown flight pattern whizzing on by.

The bees have moved in to my shrub. How did this happen?

It’s weird the things you’ll notice by pausing to take in what’s going on around you. More signs and information than you likely realize. (And taking a few seconds may be exactly where we aren’t quite as smart as we think.)

Travis, faithful companion extraordinaire, knew about observation. Any time we brought him outside, he was waiting, seated, at exactly the same spot in the kitchen when we came in. Next to the snack cabinet.

Molly, faithful companion extraordinaire, knew about observation. She used to lie on the couch watching television in the evening, head on Terry’s lap. When Terry would turn off the TV, Molly would be up the stairs and on her corner of the bed before the remote was back on the end table.

There are times when we don’t have a clue what creatures of habit we truly are… when we are moving without thought and by routine… how organized we can be.

This morning Terry and I were in the kitchen, opening curtains and windows and starting the day on a beautiful morning. She spotted them first… turkeys. In flight. Heading from one neighbor’s and over our yard. They were about thirty feet in the air, and crossed that dirt road to the neighbor’s on the other side. No clue what shook them up. But they moved as a group, landed, and settled in for a bit before wandering off.

For most of the day, we just meander along, ignorant to the world. We get fascinated by things once our attention is brought in line, even though quite often the things fascinating us are happening and building all along. We just need to notice.


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