The other day when I was out cycling I came across a bee adrift on the pavement. I had heard recently about what one was to do in such a situation. Bees do their bit to keep us alive, pollinating away, apparently about a third of the food we eat relies on the pollination that these buzzy biologists are so expert at. If they were removed from the system the knock on effect would eliminate many more foods. And honey is great. Thanks for the honey bees, thanks for the honey.
So bees do their bit to keep us alive so we should do our bit to keep them alive. On the radio the other day they explained that when you see a bee lying on the ground not going anywhere it is in peril! Bees have a wonderful, incredible way of defying logic as they manage to fly without sufficient scientific explanation as to how that is possible. But they need to keep moving. If you see one on the ground not going anywhere it is not resting – it is on its last legs! But there is something we can do. The advice is – mix a little sugar with some water and pour it into a little puddle beside the bee. The bee will be able to haul itself over to the puddle and start sooking up the water. Apparently in some cases the effect can be so quick that after its had a wee guzzle they can be up and off in a minute or two. By caring for a bee you are doing your bit for humanity.
Now since I was out cycling I didn’t have sugar to hand. I did however have some water in my oh so hipster MoMA anti-bottle and some banana chips. So I squeezed some water out beside the little guy and placed a few banana chips in there – hoping they would infuse the bee remedy with enough sugar. The bee leaned over and sure enough started guzzling down the water. I waited for several minutes to see how he was getting on but time came for me to continue my journey and I left hoping that he would be flying off soon.
As I was pedalling I got to thinking. Bees are like Vikings.
I was recently at Vikingar the fantastic historical experience in Largs. I loved sitting inside the reconstructed longhouse learning the correct way to drink out of a horn, grinding oatmeal in a kern stone and getting to try on some of the clobber. There was an alarming moment though when I figured I might try on the chain mail. I was coming to the conclusion that this chain mail was too short for me when one of my fellow tour goers decided to offer his assistance. He had a gleam in his eyes, wore combat trousers, had a goatee and under his Fidel Castro style hat he had a shaved head with a tiny ponytail at the back. All the while explaining what he was doing in enthusiastic rapid Polish he took my arms and lifted them above my head and poured the metal down around me.
This was not good.
My rudimentary understanding of chain mail is that it should be loose enough to be able to move in combat and hang below the waist. I was wearing a metal t-shirt. It was like wearing a bizarre and inaccurate chastity device. Abandoning the idea of a photo and not wanting to resign myself to a life ensconced in metal I decided I would try and remove the garment post haste. It wouldn’t budge. My jolly Man Friday was testing the weight of axes in the corner and our Viking tour guide looked somewhat alarmed when she returned to discover me – arms sticking out like a hybrid of Tin Man and Scarecrow. Luckily the stocky Lion of a man with a thick neck and booming laughter returned to my rescue. He pushed my back forward and started to shimmy the chain mail down and off me. I was free! Like a bee full of sugar – I was free!
The lovely Polish tourist was very engaging and set a refreshing example of conversing across language barriers. Throughout the tour he would use the language that none of us could understand knowing that he could convey meaning through tone and inflection. When we were toasting with our horn drinking vessels I shouted ‘Na zdrowie!’ The one Polish word I know (which fortunately is a toast and not something like ‘Cucumber’). While toasting our Viking tour guide explained that Vikings were especially fond of mead – a honey wine.
And so I was thinking both bees and Vikings are fond of honey. Both travel great distances going on adventures from place to place. Both spread shall we say ‘life’ and also culture. So I thought of my little bee and I hoped that even if he was too far gone to survive that at least I had sent him off to Valhalla with a banana liqueur. A noble warrior going on one last journey. When I cycled back there was no bee there. Does it mean he was out soaring above my head or perhaps that he had passed on to feasting halls of glory. I don’t know.
What I do know is that I took some water and banana and tried to make a difference. A difference for that fuzzy, buzzy wee animal. A difference for nature, biodiversity, the health of our planet, for society for humanity. I got involved.
I didn’t just write a blog about it.
So I urge you. Don’t just blog/post/share. Take what little you have and respond to the situations that confront you and try to make a difference. And hey once you’ve done it you get to make some tenuous links in the write-up afterwards. Go out and enjoy the adventure.
Bee a Viking.