Friday Harbor

I was sitting on a boat in the middle of Friday Harbor, San Juan Island the first of July.  Friday Harbor, San Juan IslandThe weather was glorious after a somewhat tenuous start to the summer.  Ferry traffic dodged the pleasure boaters sailing in and out of the harbor though the bay was relatively calm and uncrowded.  I secured the anchor, climbed in the tender, and made my way to shore.

I am a walker. Paseantes (segunda versión) / Walkers (second version)I try to do four to five miles a day.  When I am on the boat during the summer I either go ashore and walk the logging roads (with an eye to black bears), walk the local less trafficked roads of the settled islands, or use my peddle-kayak to simulate a long stroll.

That day, it was San Juan Island. San Juan Island Wildflowers IIIt has beautiful country roads that criss-cross its lazy, low hills.  Field of flowersThat time of year, the road sides were thick with wildflowers: buttercups, daisies, dandelions, poppies, clover and thistles.  The fragrance is a great companion to any walker.  But something was missing.

Over the course of my four day stay in the harbor, I walked over twenty miles on the island and not ONE bee did I see.  king beeThe height of summer bloom and nothing buzzed about.  I passed miles, literally, of blackberry bushes, all heavy in bloom….yet no bees.

Some speculate that multiple causes have hit the bees all at once like a blizzard and they simply can’t cope.  I wonder if it could be similar to the ever increasing stresses of human life: too much information, too fast; too many choices to assimilate and order; information overload.

Could the humble yet vital honey bee be sacrificing itself in order to send a message to mankind?