I often read in the morning when I get up. At this time of year, it gets very hot at mid-day, but it is nice to go out on the porch at 7:30 or 8:00, look at the birds, drink my coffee and read.
Yesterday, in addition to watching the birds, I had a real treat. There was some airborne activity in my back-door neighbor’s yard. There must have been hundreds of these blondish looking air puffs moving in all different directions. They were too big, and too blond to be gnats, which we sometimes get. It took me a while to recognize them. They were bees! Birds AND bees! Who could ask for anything more.
I finished my reading and went back in the house. When I came out later, this is what I saw in on a fig branch that was leaning over into our yard.
What the heck? It wasn’t there while I was having my coffee. I took a picture from the porch. I couldn’t imagine what it was. It didn’t look like a fig. Fig tree cancer? I know that cancer consists of fast-growing cells, but… no, it couldn’t be.
I got closer and took this picture:
That pine-cone-shaped object hanging from the fig tree was made up of hundreds, if not thousands of bees. The branch on which it was attached was so low, I’ll bet that the mass of bees weighed about 10 pounds.
I remember seeing cartoons as a kid that showed cartoon bees all gathering in a tree in a tear-drop shape, to foil an unfortunate cartoon bear who wanted their honey. I had no idea that it happened in non-cartoon life.
Here’s an extreme close up:
I checked on it as the day wore on. In the afternoon, the bees were getting a little restless. When I looked closely, I saw some individual bees doing their dances that I had only read about. It was very amazing. Perhaps their individual bee grips were loosening, because in late afternoon, the ‘hive’ – for lack of a better word, was getting very droopy.
By late afternoon they were gone. I didn’t have the privilege of seeing them go. All I saw was the branch on which they were perched – back in its original unbowed position.
As you can see, I added a bit of the background and tried to deepen the contrast of the faces. I glazed the curtains with lemon yellow and the couch with burnt sienna. In future experiments, I will try to figure out a way to glaze the faces without losing the color variations .