Friday, February 22, 2013

Mason bees

So I'm on the bus to PSU, sitting in an aisle seat, when the lady next to me pokes me in the ribs. She points to  the sign at an A-boy we're passing and asks, "What are mason bees?" The sign proudly proclaims: We have mason bees.

Damned if I know. I think mason-->masonry, maybe it's a tool for brick layers. But it's one of those questions that keeps bugging you but at school, before I get a chanced to look it up, I get an email from the lady on the bus (we'd chatted about writing after bees broke the ice since she's interested in Willamette Writers), giving me scientific info about the mason bee, an actual bee. But scientific info tells me nothing, really, so I snoop around, finally, and discover that the mason bee is "the work horse of the garden" in the task of pollination. So now you know. And here are folks who know more about it than I do.


Bryony said...

How doth the Little Busy Bee
by Isaac Watts

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.

In works of labor or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.

Bryony said...

Inadvertent beneficence.
The work of bees that involves making honey requires, as I understand it, visiting many flowers, and in that process pollinating the plants so the life cycle continues, thus bringing a bout future flowers for future bees. I am not sure bees understand this longer range cause and effect relationship. I suspect the bee is more aware of the flower -> honey connection (or not).

Although I often encounter writings about interdependence and the astounding degrees to which we are all connected, I don't perceive it at anything other than an intellectual level. Generally the human action in the interdependency is proclaimed destructive whether out of ignorance or intention. But what if there is also inadvertent benevolence in that interdependent relationship? Sure, attitude and choices are important to the entire enterprise and we should inform ourselves and acknowledge our motives and probably collateral outcomes. But maybe we don't know, can't know, ways in which our actions are inadvertently benevolent.

Do I have a neat summation here? No. I just woke up this morning thinking about bees and inadvertence.