Let sleeping bees lie...

Category: Wendy's Wanderings 01 June 2011


 

We have returned to THAT time of year again - workshops in Umbria where we have new interesting people to meet, locations to find, wild flowers to locate and miniature wildlife in abundance. It does not matter how often we come here, every time is different. Where once there were poppies this year there are none, where last year a field is fallow this year it is full of ox eye daisies and clary sage. The timing of the flowers falls within a 5 week window - we cannot predict their biorhythm.

This year I discovered the fantastical world of insects, standing in amongst a poppy field we found after the workshops. Whilst David and Jon were shooting the landscape I felt like a giant observing the profusion of life and indeed ‘behaviour’ of fascinating creatures. In the given 2 hour period before sunrise I discovered blue butterflies feeding on nectar, bees sleeping around the corolla of flowers (yes sleeping - I saw it on 3 different occasions) spiders holding sentinel awaiting prey landing in their nets, a cricket sat within the petals of a poppy watching the world awaken around him and beetles no bigger than 0.7cm long. I thought I was watching a mating ‘dance’ - however this included boxing so I am not sure what I witnessed really! Considering their size it appeared quite violent... By this point I had acute backache! Such a concentration of various species made me aware of how much of a jungle it is out there. Seeing it in the morning mist and hearing the buzz come alive I felt humbled to share their morning awakenings. I have an idea that my sleeping bee could be quite an interesting textile piece...

A day later we discovered the farmer had shredded the lot... David and Jon were saddened by the missed alternative opportunities for shots, I on the other hand was in a panic, did all that life escape on time, when did the ‘chop’ happen, did the bees have time to awaken and start their motors...? A whole city of life of the miniature world decimated in one fail swoop. I would like to think they escaped and somewhere nature is still bountiful.

a As a result of this experience I now find myself frequently grovelling around on the ground searching for life within the flora. Flora used to be my muse, now it is fauna too, the colours, shapes… how they ever find each other for some agreement is beyond me! We had fireflies too at night. Some mimic other species attracted by the possibility of a mate, only to discover on courtship that they have become another’s dinner it’s a tough world out there.

Watch this space I will see if I can make something out of the bee print before next Wanderings.

 Insects in a poppy field.
 Insects in a poppy field


 

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