‘Oh what a wonderful thing to be,
A healthy, grown up, busy busy bee.
Whiling away all the passing hours,
Pinching all the pollen from the cauliflowers’
I have a fondness for Arthur Askey and his songs, as well as the old – time music hall and variety acts; but I must attribute my liking for this particular song to my Grandad. He used to sing this to me when I was little and to this day I have a respectful affection for these furry insects that play such an important role in our world.
My Grandad… and me… quite a long time ago x
I have passed this regard on to my younger son … when he was tiny, one of his favourite stories used to be about the big lavender bush in the garden of the house where I grew up; how, on those golden summer days of childhood, I would watch the bees, amiably buzzing and walking around on the tiny amethyst flowers, happily drunk on nectar. How, if I was very careful, and gentle, I could actually stroke a bee’s fur, as soft and delicate as the fur behind a cat’s ear. All the while, they would wave their antennae and legs in what I would like to think were words of encouragement …
“Oh yes … right there – no, no, down a bit …”
But were probably:
“Quick Bert – RUN! That mad child’s here again, oops, overdone it a bit on the nectar …”
This story fascinated my children, and I remember one day, when my older son was little, we were out with the dogs. It was a pleasantly sunny day, and the bees were out in force, going about their business.
Obviously, my bee story made more of an impression on my older son than I realised … His innocent, four year – old finger poked enquiringly at a bee that was investigating a clover flower … The bee bit him. Yes. Bit him. My mother didn’t – and still doesn’t – believe him or me, but I saw the bee’s jaw parts (?) open and clamp shut around my poor son’s finger …
He yelled and shook it off … I laughed … as you do … the bee flew indignantly away:
“Honestly, you can’t just go around POKING people … I don’t get paid enough for that!”
My older son has a healthy respect for these creatures … genus “Bombus” … now.
On the other hand, my younger son is fascinated by them and constantly seeks to engage with them.
“When can I stroke a bee, Mummy? Shall I stroke that one?”
“No, darling, that’s a wasp, I’d leave that one alone, and perhaps we shouldn’t really touch them, not since your grandmother told me she’s allergic to them … and we don’t know if it’s inherited or not …”
Undaunted by possible anaphylactic shock, my younger son has pursued a relationship with bees. All bees. He loves their colours and unique abilities. I have watched – from a safe distance – as he has carefully picked a bee up, that was weak and fatigued, and carefully fed it sugar water.
“Mind how you go, now …”
“Cheers, Guv’nor … thanks for ‘elping a bloke in his hour of need ….”
He has, of course, photographed them. I was entranced by the delicate wings as he captured one mid – flight; and he aspires to keeping bees of his very own. When he’s left home.
Imagine his delight then, when he found this crystal, Bumblebee Jasper, his crystal lady informed him. The yellow is actually Sulphur, and the grey, Hematite (obviously in its unpolished state, it must be handled with care since Sulphur is poisonous.) However, it is a wonderful crystal that works with the Sacral and Solar Plexus chakras.
This means it can help you with accepting change and discovering new opportunities. Bumblebee Jasper can help you increase your self-esteem and make logical decisions.
It can also be used to help with allergies. I’ve never been stung by a bee. Or bitten. Nor has my youngest son. I’m not as physically brave with them as my son is, but I do show them the same respect and care he does, and will never use anything that could harm a bee.
Mother Earth needs her little winged couriers… after all, Einstein is supposed to have said: ‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then Man would have only four years of life left.’
All photographs Copyright © 2016 Alex Marlowe (apart from Grandad)
Lyrics borrowed from ‘Busy Bee’ Arthur Askey 1937