Other Matters: Bees

This morning a man came to the door, introduced himself as Francisco and said he was cutting the neighbors’ lawn. The neighbors were away. “Do you know about bees?” Francisco said. “Let me show you.” We walked over to a tree and there were two huge clumps of bees hanging from a branch.

Francisco said, “When I was a kid, one time I was out playing and disturbed a nest of bees and they started to come after me. We lived near a river, and the only way I could escape them was to jump in the river and come up once in a while to see if they were still there. Finally they went away. There’s no river around here, so I wondered if you knew who to call.”

I gave him a suggestion, and before long an old man arrived with what looked like a box—an empty hive. The apiarist recruited the queen, and soon, to Francisco’s relief, the hundreds of bees began assembling on it. By late evening, this is how it looked.

Bees at Conways 51514

Tomorrow, we hope, the beekeeper will be back to take his captives to a new home.Duke Pearson

If you think that telling you this story was an elaborate excuse to play a Duke Pearson recording from the 1960s, good guess. Here’s Pearson (1932-1980), piano; James Spaulding, flute; Joe Henderson, tenor saxophone; Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; Ron Carter, bass; Mickey Roker, drums: “Sweet Honey Bee” from the album of that name.

Some of you may have forgotten about Pearson or have yet to encounter him. Go here for a biography and here for a generous representation of his work

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  1. Jim Brown says

    Given that bee populations in North America are years into a long decline, reasons for which are apparently not understood, it’s encouraging to see such a positive response to Francisco’s question—a call to a beekeeper rather than an exterminator. Hundreds of thousands of farmers, who need those bees to pollinate their orchards, will certainly appreciate it.

  2. Ted Arenson says

    ‘How about Hamp and the Ellingtonians great recording of “Buzzin ‘Round with the Bee?”