“Let me tell ya ’bout the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees ”
Yeah, “nature-lover” me was sitting out on the back deck-porch-whatchamacallit the other day, and I actually got to watch the birds and the bees.
You need to understand that this was a real accomplishment for someone whose idea of roughing it is a hotel bed without silk sheets. Also, I spend a majority of my time in my office-study just off the deck-porch-thingy reading, researching and writing as we writer-types are wont to do.
Oh, yeah, I was a Boy Scout all right and I got my nature and camping merit badges, among a couple of dozen-plus, but a real outdoor type I’m not.
It was a nice, cool spring day. In our “new home” (that’s in a location sense not construction-wise) we have this area on the back of the house that is a concrete slab. About two-thirds of it has a corrugated metal roof over it. In this area, we keep our grill for outdoor cookouts. There are some outdoor deck-type chairs (made for comfort first) and three small end-table pieces for, you know, a place to set your iced tea glass while enjoying a spring day.
So, I decided to “soak up a little nature,” read a book and watch Sawyer, the former Famous River Wonder Dog now known as Le Pup Savage in honor of his conversion to Cajunhood.
There are a lot of birds that come and go via some sizable “garden-type” trees in our backyard. They eye all of the shrubs, flowering bushes and flowers that Life Mate has “green-thumbed” into a couple of new flower beds she’s created since we assumed occupancy of this new domicile only 10 discreet minutes from our son’s home.
For a couple of Mom-fixed meals a week, The Boy (as he has been known for most of his 32 years) does some house-tending and Sawyer-sitting when something necessitates our being gone for a few days.
But, I digress. Back to the birds and the bees.
While in the rarified air of nature (for me, except a 30-minute walk of the dog each day), I began to take closer note of all of that bird and bee activity. I do watch the birds come and go in my window-ringed Man Cave, but this little outdoor sojourn was an initial spring exposure to the bees and other creatures that inhabit our “back 40.”
Sonny and Samantha Squirrel beat a steady path either atop the 6-foot privacy fence or on its horizontal braces. Simon and Sally Sparrow found a bug here and there in the grass and on the uncovered portion of our “patio.”
After taking in all of this for a while, a buzzing sound nearby got my attention. I hadn’t noticed any wasp or yellowjacket nests anywhere on our patio’s covered area or I would have torched those suckers or found a killer spray and drowned them in it.
Overhead there was a bumblebee lighting on the end of one of the rafters that holds up the patio cover. I watched for a bit as they flew errands, then returned to the rafter with, I assumed, the grocery shopping. While watching and listening, I discovered their names were Barney and Bessie Bumblebee.
What I have learned about the bumblebee clan, with regard to threats and dangers, is that they aren’t aggressive unless you mess with them or their home. Hey, I feel the same way live and let live. I also know that they will only sting you if they feel threatened or you actually mess with them.
And, most importantly, if they sting you, they die. One stinger dart, that’s it. I always figured they weren’t suicidal. After all, it appeared that Barney and Bessie were just setting up housekeeping, so no harm, no foul.
That’s what I observed about the birds and the bees. Then, I moved indoors for my afternoon snack. I don’t like sharing.
Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper editor-publisher of more than 50 years experience.