Buttercups and Velvet Bums

A week ago I had a fire
To warm my feet, my hands and face;
Cold winds, that never make a friend,
Crept in and out of every place.

Today the fields are rich in grass,
And buttercups in thousands grow;
I’ll show the world where I have been–
With gold-dust seen on either shoe.

Till to my garden back I come,
Where bumble-bees for hours and hours
Sit on their soft, fat, velvet bums,
To wriggle out of hollow flowers.

~William Henry Davies “All in June”

This has been the coldest wettest June in decades here in the Pacific Northwest: we have the stove lit for warmth, the fields are too wet to till, the gardens lie idle because planted seeds will rot. Despite the chill, the buzzing pollinators have been out doing their important work in fields of buttercups where the Haflinger horses graze, sometimes getting too soppy in the rain to return to their hives. It is hard work to move those chunky bodies with those little tiny wings – but they manage.

The Haflingers and bumblebees have something in common — pudgy generous backsides. There is nothing quite as deceptive as a bumblebee bum – fat, soft, velvety….yet with a sting in the middle. I know this from personal experience: I sat down on one as a kid wearing a bathing suit and never forgot it.

But all is forgiven. I now appreciate bumblebee bums. They make me feel less self-conscious about my fluffy horses’ hind ends …
and my own.

photo by Andrea Nipges (Z’s Happy Bees)

Some things that fly there be,—             
Birds, hours, the bumble-bee:  
Of these no elegy.
~Emily Dickinson from “XIV”


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2 thoughts on “Buttercups and Velvet Bums

  1. Here in Houston, Texas we are going to have a 100° high! Wish I could send you some more of that wish you could send me some cooling! Pictures from today are beautiful, your horses are magnificent!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are the cutest, most
    unusual pics of bees that I’ve ever seen — especially, the cutie
    peering out from inside the pinkish flower.
    And the Haflingers don’t seem at all perturbed or shy about having their ‘bum’ on display.
    I know that horses swat away flies and other flying pests using their fully endowed tails.
    I wonder if they would be daring enough to do the same for bees.

    Liked by 1 person

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