Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Being There: From Bug to Friend in 30 Seconds

As I headed inside from the backyard yesterday, I spotted him (maybe her). I don’t know how or why he caught my eye because he blended so perfectly with the pavement. He seemed purposeful, using both his wings and his legs to propel himself forward along the ground.

I bent down for a closer look. He soon stopped—his front half in the shade of the garage, his back remaining in the glare of the sun. Though he no longer moved forward, his legs and wings continued to stir.

I know nothing about bee behavior, so I had no idea what his movements meant. Did he just need to be in the shade? I scooched him into it, but it neither pacified him nor energized him.

Finally, I figured that whatever his goal was, it was better accomplished in the grass rather than the garage. He would certainly get run over if he stayed where he was. It became easy to interpret his situation as desperate.

I plucked a clover from the yard and offered it to him. He clutched it immediately and I gently pulled him onto a leaf and transported him to a shady spot in the grass. His back legs rested while he focused on the flower. Just as I started imagining that the nectar would revive him, he grew still.

I hadn’t known him long, but that didn’t stop me from tearing up. At least he didn’t die on the pavement, I thought. At least he got a nice final meal. Then he jerked alive again—holding tight to the clover as each of his legs and wings acted of their own accord.

I fetched another clover for him and went inside. I had an appointment across town and needed to change my clothes. I would check on him again before I left.

When I returned to his leaf, only the first clover was visible, already in a stage of decay. I hoped the bee had flown away, but then saw him to the side of the leaf—upright and leaning against two blades of grass as he worked on the second clover. I gently took hold of the stem to pull him back up on the leaf, but a surge of what can only be described as electric current passed through the stem to my fingers.

Was it a message? Was he saying, “Leave me the Hell alone and go to your appointment”? He looked content enough, so that’s just what I did (what I had to do).

My friend was gone when I returned, along with that second clover. I like to think that wherever he is, he’s no longer struggling; his legs and wings are in sync once again.

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