When I entered into this venture, I never expected it to make me rich. And, monetarily, I am a long way from that ever happening. Yet, rich is exactly how I feel. I began showing up at markets and posting online with the hope that I would at least earn the return of my investment. The longer I do this, the less important that aspect is becoming because the most unexpected affect of this adventure has been the impact on my humanity. There is such joy in sharing what I’ve captured, telling the stories of the photos, and connecting with people in such a positive way. I quickly realized that no one walks away with one of my pictures (or indeed walks away) without a look of joy across their face – either for their own good fortune or the anticipation of presenting it as a gift. Their joy sparks my soul in ways I never would have imagined.
This past August I was trying to capture hummingbirds flitting happily from flower to flower…but speed demons of the bird world, they are tough to capture. Too many flowers and so little time it would seem. On the other hand, it was quite easy to photo-capture this wee bee as he was happily snoozing away deep inside my hollyhock.
I had put aside the camera to attend to some weeds when I noticed something in the hollyhock blossom. Thinking at first it was a bit of leaf blown in, as I got closer I realized it was a little bumblebee covered in a soft blanket of pollen, snoozing away. He was so still I wondered if he was even alive, but I touched the edge of the flower gently and could then see his little body rising and falling. I quickly ran to grab my camera, chanting all the way “please be there when I get back, please be there when I get back” because, you know, Nature is the most uncooperative of subjects! Clouds love to photobomb, winds pick up when you least expect it, and the birds and bees fly at will, not to my bidding.
Happily the bee still lay there all snuggled in, soft and cosy in his pollen when I arrived back with my camera. I adjusted the settings and took a few shots. I didn’t think this was normal bee behaviour and hoped that I wasn’t taking pictures of his death bed. I googled to see if bees sleep and, indeed they do. I’m not sure what I was thinking because, well, doesn’t everything sleep? (Okay, being a menopausal woman I may have forgotten that fact). I learned that bees cannot fly once the temperature begins to drop (at about 10C/50F) and being laden with pollen like this wee bee makes it even more difficult. They will often find a deep flower like the hollyhock or a squash blossom to have a snooze until the sun warms them enough to fly. Apparently the temperature can be 18 degrees warmer close to the pollen source which makes me wish Mother Nature would produce a human size equivalent for those chilly fall days. I worried about him all night and rushed the next morning to see if he was still there. The morning sun had warmed him sufficiently and he must have carried on with his mission for the blossom was now empty.
I fell in love with this picture as soon as it popped onto my computer screen. The purple monkshood made a lovely backdrop to the pale yellow of the flower with the little bee so tiny and perfect under his pollen comforter. I printed it 8”x8” and framed it in a shadow frame. I didn’t think it was a photo anyone would be interested in purchasing but I decided to take it to the market with me if, for no other reason, than to tell its sweet story. It has been to a few markets, hung amongst the aurora and standing out in its difference…differently beautiful if you will. It has been a conversation starter several times and once the object of a lady’s desire, but alas, her husband was less than smitten. The little bee was destined, it would seem, to remain a wallflower. Until this past weekend.
Sold! It was during my first Christmas market when an elderly gentleman stopped by my display and remarked about the beautiful flower. I showed him the added beauty within the flower and he was absolutely enchanted. The joy in his face was nourishing to anyone in his presence. He admired it for a bit, commenting about it to others nearby and then he carried on his way. The fact that he did not purchase the picture barely made my notice. I am accustomed to people stopping, admiring, and moving on. I love that my pictures give them a moment to stop and feel beauty. The little bee had clearly made this particular gentleman’s day and, ultimately, he mine. After a long day of interminable Christmas carols (7 straight hours on November 2nd should be considered inhumane), near the end of the show, along this gentleman comes once again with money waving in his hand. “I’m here for the bee!” he said as he excitedly counted out his money with the anticipation of a ten year old getting his hands on the newest video game. He could scarcely wait till my husband could get it off the display grid. And then off he went again, a definite lightness to his step, pleased beyond measure. I can’t help but think my little bee found a very good home where he will be loved every day. I love that this man will find joy whenever he looks at it hanging in his home.
Yes, I put some money into my cash box, but that was not the real payment this day. Moments I will always treasure. A little bee decided to take a nap and changed lives. Who knew?
And, incidentally, the hummingbirds weren’t entirely elusive 😉