Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In Memory of Bumblebees



It was a beautiful summer day in Connecticut today. I sat out in the sun for a short while listening to the cicadas buzz like a multitude of miniature power saws... with a distinct on and off switch. One minute they're all on, and the next minute they're all abruptly off. I can't fathom their language but I wish I could.

I used to catch grasshoppers as a child... in big jars that had a constellation of holes punched in the lid. Without exception they would die if I didn't let them loose. But, I haven't seen a grasshopper in years and years.

I used to raise Monarch butterflies as an adult. But, even after they flew off into the sunset, and even after the few milkweeds I had planted in the yard eventually died-off from lack of sunlight (due to the encroaching trees), and even years later, I would still see one or two Monarchs drift around the yard on occasion, as if they somehow knew that a friend to Monarchs was near.

I don't see them anymore.

I notice there are no mosquitoes this year. And around here, this is very rare. But then, I believe the powers-that-be in Connecticut made a special point of killing them off due to West Nile disease paranoia a year or two ago. So, no mosquitoes; but I really can't say I miss them.

But something else is missing from this summer: bumblebees. They still buzzed around last year, though the honey bees were gone. Now they're gone, too. At least I haven't seen any this year. It's weird, but I made a point of scanning a dead one (I had found in the window) into this computer just before the summer ended in 2009. I don't know why... perhaps, somehow I knew it might be the last one I ever saw.

I hope they all come back one day - even mosquitoes. It really isn't summer without bugs.