When a bumblebee is caught in the rain

After three days of rain and fog I went out to the garden to inspect the damage. Clumps of parsley, once proud mini-forests, were flattened to the ground. Carrot tops were tangled into one…bad…hair…day. I walked, squish-squish, over to a clump of yellow calendulas whose petals, heavy with moisture, drooped like basset hound ears.

Then I saw the bumblebee.

She was huddled in the center of a flower, motionless. “Water bombs” covered her body and pasted her wings against her abdomen. She looked as though she’d been in a mud fight.

As it was late afternoon, I knew she wouldn’t be going anywhere tonight. Question was, would she survive the night away from her cozy hive?

bumblebee, bumble, bee, macro, rain, metabolism, flower, God, tenacity, courage, will, Marion Owen, Kodiak, Alaska, photographer

The next morning, I went outside to investigate. I found her, just as you see in the photo, hanging vertically with each claw embedded in the soft petals like a climber holding ice axes to perform a self-arrest while sliding down a slope. At some point in our bumblebee’s slide, her abdomen came to rest on a leaf.

I set up my camera and tripod and took a number of shots, all the while thinking, “Is she still alive, or dead, and thus mechanically ‘frozen’ to the flower?”

I focused my lens on the antenna by her right eye.

It moved…she was alive!

I’d read about a bumblebee’s metabolism, that it’s 75 percent higher than a hummingbird’s. And that they can survive in temperatures which are too low for them to fly. To warm up, they shiver their flight muscles, much like we shiver when we’re cold. Blah, blah, blah…

I was not thinking about all that science stuff while lying on the wet grass watching a little bee come back to life. Rather, I was astounded by the bee’s built-in tenacity. I couldn’t help but wonder how I would deal with a life-or-death situation, let’s say, bobbing around the Gulf of Alaska in a life raft?

I gently brought my mind back to the here and now. As the bee activated each leg and slowly pulled her body up and into the saddle of the flower, I thought: If a bee is provided with the ability to overcome a night out in the rain, surely we are endowed with the courage, will power, and determination to help us overcome life’s obstacles.

Just something to think about…

Thanks for stopping by to read and share. Cheers and blessings,

Marion Owen, Kodiak, Alaska, photographer


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15 Responses to When a bumblebee is caught in the rain

  1. Velda says:

    Really enjoy your stories. Really neat you got to see the bumblebee. Have a good week. Velda

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. liz Whiteland says:

    I really loved your story about the bumblebee, all creatures great and small are fantastic and I love them, they seem to have abilities that we do not have, or, do not use.
    Bless you Marion.

    • marionowen says:

      And blessings to you, Liz. I think we could all improve on using the gifts and talents we are endowed with. Though I’m not so sure about having a bad hair day like Ms. Bee!

  3. Helen Williams says:

    Thank you for the beautiful meditation . Helen

  4. Colleen says:

    Thank you! Very inspiring, I will remember that every time I see a bumblebee.

    • marionowen says:

      And if you see a bumblebee bumbling around in the coolness of spring, offer you hand for warmth. It might just crawl up onto your hand (Hint: It tickles!)

  5. Roberta says:

    Thank you.

  6. Helen Raschick says:

    What an amazing event you got to be a part of! It pays to pay attention to the little things in life. Thanks for sharing

    • marionowen says:

      As far as the little things, Helen, a very wise woman told me once that if I can notice and deal with the little stuff, I can better handle the big stuff. I don’t know if that applies to bumblebees, but there you go!

  7. Melissa says:

    When watering in the am I try to water under bees. Often a quick light spray lets them know I’m coming and they take a break. Marion – not sure if this is the place but my email has changed. Please use melissalambert1958@gmail.com now. I don’t check this account often. Please let me know if there is somewhere else I should be updating my email info. Thanks! Melissa.

  8. Molly Sturdevant says:

    Beautiful observations!

    • marionowen says:

      Thank you, Molly. The bees are working hard as fall comes upon us. I allow several kale plants go to flower so the bees have an additional source of food. It might look a little weird to other gardeners, but the tall stands of yellow flower wave nicely in the breezes.

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