Flight to Edmonton
May 17, 2007

Listen to the hum of the Beloved winging across a crowded
rumour heard only
by spirit ears

--Penn Kemp

Tomorrow I will be heading to Edmonton to perform Madame Beespeaker in public spaces around the city. I have been reading about the beaks of finches, and how they are shaped by the dynamic forces in their habitat. It made me wonder about the evolution of bees and the factors that effect their evolution. We have had a wet, cold spring here in Vancouver, far from ideal for the bees. One day I even saw a bumblebee foraging in salmonberry blossoms in the rain. Their fur coats keep them alive in cooler temperatures, but this bee was moving quite slowly in the cold, wet morning air. Temperature affects evolution. This year it'll be all about survival of the furriest!

This Saturday was sunny, and I saw two incredibly beautiful Bombus foraging in the deep fuchsia salmonberry blossoms. The top half of their furry back was golden yellow and the bottom half was a brown mahogany color that glowed intensely in the sunlight. They were stunning creatures.

On Wednesday of last week I was working with kids in the landed learning program at UBC Farm. We stopped to observe two small bumblebees looking for nectar in the yellow kale blossoms on the west end of the garden. I explained that we should move slowly around the bees, that they wouldn't sting because they were too busy focussing on their task, and that it's not a good idea to put one in your hand to "pet" it.

Tonight I ask the bees for safe travel.