Bright Flowers, Waning Days

August 8, 2018

Mornings in August dawn muted now, with fog-limned trees and dew-encrusted grass, when they didn’t before.

With the coming of this month I feel that summer is officially on the wane.  I always find these last days and weeks unexpectedly dreamlike when I remember them in the winter.  As if none of it could have been real.  The colors are too bright, the air too warm, the birdsong and the drone of insects all too melodic.

A reverie to cherish, but not to be absolutely and wholeheartedly believed.

As well as the changing weather in the mornings, more and more this time of year I come across bumble and honey bees clinging close, still and tired, on the petals of flowers.

Early on in the spring and summer this would have been a very unusual sight, but now it’s the norm.  I counted almost a dozen this morning just in my herb garden alone.

They’re never together in a group, but neither are they ever too far from another resting apidae.

I wish I knew more about the life cycle of bees, but as of yet I don’t, so I can only assume that these bees are elderly as far as bees go and coming to the end of their lives.

I expect they’re tired after a summer of foraging, and the way back to the colony just seems too far.

Or maybe these are the males, the drones, leading their lonely lives of debauchery and sleeping it off in the petals (and while likelier, it’s not nearly as poetic, so we’re not going with this theory).

August marks the beginning of the end for the summer and the garden.

For the bees, too; even the young ones.  I know most of them, at least the bumble bees, won’t make it through the winter.

I know (or I think, anyway) that animals and insects don’t tend to dwell on their mortality the way we humans do.  But I do wonder, before their end, will their lives flash before them as dazzling kaleidoscopes of color; golden afternoons and ruby-tinged evenings, and sweet drifts of perfume wafting on the wind?  Will the remembered buzzing of sisters and thrum of wind under their wings lull them to sleep?

Will they think to themselves in that last brief spark, “what a wonderful summer it has been”?

I hope so.



  • The EcoFeminist

    August 8, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    You will have to come over and we will show you the bees! Almost all bees that you see are female as the boys are just there to mate with the queen, and bees actually only live a few weeks, which always makes me sad!

    We usually are harvesting honey right now but since moving here with our hive they have slowed down considerably and we’re not sure if we’re going to end up harvesting honey this year are not as we want to make sure they have enough for the winter, and there’s just not a lot of honey bee friendly flowers around here. Tons of flowers for the bumblebees and mason bees who don’t need the same color of flowers, but I likened our honey bees to polar bears as they seem to have to go a long ways to find pollen to bring back home. So if we can keep them happy and healthy through the winter then next year when we have all of our flowers and garden going crazy they will be much more productive 😁 And yeah, I can feel the end of the season coming close even though it’s so nice out… Rush rush rush is all I hear in my mind, thinking about getting things done before the rain…

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