Nature

on the benevolent bumblebee…

Bumblebee, Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, India

a bumblebee doesn’t bite, hence ‘tis affable… the logic is simple and infallible… for what looks rather pompous with bulging bodies swaying twitchily on wings of underwhelming proportions turns out to be a rather humble and sincere disposition after all… the bee not only defies its physiology and the physics associated with it, but displays the bravado of a rookie pitched into the battlefield with little ceremony… 

Bumblebee, Tirthan Valley, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
The morning after a rainy night, feasting on Himalayan Balsam, Tirthan Valley, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh

time and again I slip into reflecting upon bumblebees… in thin airs where most of its flying brethren fold up their devices and retreat to the lower climes, it labours on uncomplainingly, a flying tortoise toiling from flower to flower, rising higher and higher to compete with the best of the raptors… pollinating against the elements with a characteristically heavy drone that permeates through the meadows in the muted murmurings of flowers, titillating some with its song to part with the pollen… even twenty-four hours a day where the sun refuses to give way to the nocturnal in the  polar summers…

Bumblebee, Bada Bhangal Trek, Himachal Pradesh, India
Contrasts amidst an overcast sky, Bada Bhangal Trek, Himachal Pradesh

one feels for the bumblebee initially, but then starts feeling for oneself, gazing around the pristine backdrop the apian spends its brief existence in… the unselfishness might just be a pre-programmed piece in the evolutionary jigsaw — nothing very spectacular in a faunal world where the spaces between life and death are filled with dispassionate and even ruthless sacrifices — yet it remains a bee that rarely irritates and rather enriches the biota for the human but receives little accolades in return, not unlike many in the faunal world… plush with pollen stuck all across it hairy body, it stutters from one flower to the next, coaxing the nectar-less and coping up with the haughty

Bumblebee, Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, India
Shaking a foxglove to life, Ranikhet, Uttarakhand

dwindling in large numbers are these creatures anyhow, as researchers across America and Europe scramble to pinpoint factors, our neck of the woods remain largely apathetic… maybe thankfully so considering that quite a bit of their habitat in the Himalaya and its precincts remains uninhabited for now, and we hardly use them as commercial pollinators for fancy berries or flowers… bumblebees here remain largely wild, randomly punctuating large swathes of silent meadows with the colours of spring and fall… yet the fear remains that it may bow out of existence sans any hue and cry… for the Bombus doesn’t bite, you see…

Tirthan Valley, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India
Bouncing off the morning sun, Tirthan Valley, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh

musings on bumblebees, hiking landscapes across the Himalaya…

Author: Parth Joshi

Allured by the outdoors, the author is made up in parts of that quintessential lost soul wreathing under the pangs of biophilia in a desk job, a wannabe elegist mostly ending up in dungeons of poetasters and an optimist waiting for the senility of the modern world to fade away while sampling shoots and leaves. In saner times, he has a keen interest in areas pertaining to tourism, history, agriculture and climate change, especially with respect to historical interpretations, emerging technologies and future livelihoods. An avid trekker, runner, cyclist, birder and photographer, he is more often than not found gloating over anything hinterland, on foot or over computer monitors, and fantasizing solutions that can foster inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods for communities at the grassroots.

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