Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Death of a Bumblebee

If you are a bumblebee, you can die two ways. Unlike the mid-level employee who dies at his desk and no one notices for days, dying mid-work is considered graceful in bumblebee world. A worker bee ceaselessly extracts nectar until she reaches the flower upon which her tired body will rest. When I came across this dead bumblebee in the Heather Garden at Fort Tryon, I wanted to cry. So sad, so poignant, so serene.

However, some bumblebees don't have the work ethic to die with grace. Instead, they are beaten to death by their sisters when deemed a waste of space in a space-limited hive. This raggedy drone's corpse tells of a death much more grisly than that of the worker. His fuzz has become matted and his appendages are akimbo. As they say, Ma Nature giveth and taketh away.

In Virginia Woolf's bleak but beautiful essay The Death of the Moth, she pities the insignificance of the death, and thus the life, of a single dusty-winged insect. Am I wrong, though, or do the deaths of these striped buzzers seem meaningful in some important way? They deserve weighty tombstones or bronzed statues.

Oh autumn, you're breakin' my heart. First, on a blue-skied, rusty-treed Sunday, you take my dog. You continue to expose me to various forms of loss, namely and most notably my drones, my immune system, and my summertime jubilation.

Then, you fleetingly flash your outrageous beauty right in my face, and leave me to fend off rain in the safety of my way-uptown apartment, all alone but for the fruit flies occupying my compost and beyond.

All of this tells me that I'm going to need a pretty radical Halloween costume. I've got a fever and the only cure is ridiculous clothing. The problem is, my imagination is as stunted as my wallet, which is as stunted as a six-year-old chain-smoker.

But I digress...

These autumn colors are the finale in a long celebration of life. Before we know it, it'll start all over again.

Make sure you don't miss it.

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