Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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When the bees died...

In the tales of the Ghost Dance, they speak of a time when the creatures of the white man will die, and the prairies return to their old long grass, as the settlements are abandoned, and the buffalo come again to the land. Some settlements lie empty, even now, the descendants of the homesteaders gone, and the farmland returns to tall grass and prairie flowers. They speak of turning them into buffalo commons, now that the people have gone...

And up the Platte, "the White Man's Fly" ceases its buzzing. The tribes of the Plains said that you could chart the progress of the whites by when you saw their fly, the honeybee, appear. It seemed to appear three years before the settlers, moving progressively and incessantly westward.

Across Turtle Island, the bees fall silent in their buzzing. Where once the honeybee reigned, and pollinated the white man's crops, now bumblebee and mason bee are those left to take its place. I am One with the Bees; I saw it coming. Bees, all bees, and I have always had communion, and the signs have been alarming. I lost my hive almost ten years ago, and followed the progress of the paracitic mites with a certain dread. For a while, the crisis was staved off by miticide. But now, the mites are resistant, and last year the honeybees died in droves. They now estimate that 50% of the bee population died, perhaps even more if you count hives in the wild, beyond human intervention. Perhaps the Ghost Dance Times move across the land, even as the White Man's Fly once presaged the arrival of settlers.

But even the bumblebees are way down in numbers. And my carpenter bees, big and black and buzzy, the ones that my Apache uncle always hung up logs for, saying that they brought luck to a house, have not been seen at all. Only the solitary bees, small and green and metallic, like jewelery, are found in the flowers now.

My plum tree had five plums this year. Apricots were off their usual abundance, as well. A taste of things to come, when all those crops brought by the white man, pollinated by "the white man's fly" will fail? I see signs, and fear for what I see.

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