Less than 30 days until spring, or so the calendar tells me. Here in the Northeastern part of the United States, we are still knee-deep in snow, with more predicted in this week’s forecast. February is the last hurdle to get through before we can have a chance at getting back into the garden. Typically, it is a frigid and snowy month, as if winter is throwing a tantrum on its way out the door.
When I’m longing for spring, I often close my eyes and imagine all the sights, sounds, feelings, smells, and tastes of the spring season. A virtual sensory experience where I mentally revisit the presence of a newly emerging daffodil, the song of a house wren, the feel of the warm sunshine and cool spring breeze, the smell of moist soil as the snow melts, and the taste of the first snap pea grown in the garden. It is almost as if I am there, but not quite; regrettably, I will have to wait another month or so for the actual experiences. While I love changing seasons and the rest and reflection that winter brings, I can’t wait to get my hands in the soil again. I long to be back in the garden, tending to plants, sampling homegrown veggies, smelling flowers, and watching the bees.
Ah, the bees. There are few sounds in the garden that make me as happy as listening to the bees busily buzzing to and fro as they visit the flowers. They pay me no mind as they go about their work, but I can’t help but stop whatever I’m doing and observe their routine. They fly from bloom to bloom, working quickly and efficiently, pollinating along the way. The pollen baskets, called corbicula, on their hind legs brim with bright yellow pollen waiting to pollinate the next flower. They will visit thousands of blooms by day’s end, giving the phrase “busy as a bee” merit.
Toiling alongside these magnificent workers in the garden is a treat. Their impressive work ethic spurs me on, calling for me to up my game, pull a few more weeds, and plant a few more flowers. For them just as much as for me.
I miss the bees as much as I miss the flowers this time of year. While winter still has a firm grip on our region, all I can do is make plans for the garden season to come. As I purchase seeds and design the beds, I keep my beloved bees in mind. I can’t wait to see these hard-working, buzzing garden companions again soon. For now, as I stare out my window observing the world outside, coated in ice and snow, I can’t help but whisper, “bring back the bees, please.” I am ready for spring.