Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stranded visitor

This morning on the phone, I visited with Mike Parwana and Jeanette Brandt up in New York state. They're the couple who rescued a Monarch last November, nursed it back to health (they even repaired its broken wing!), and then found a trucker, who later released the butterfly in Florida. It's an amazing story that went worldwide. (See "Rare rescue," my November 24, 2008, posting.)

Not more than an hour after we hung up, I was in our garage, putting wet clothes in the dryer when I spotted a bee, sitting on top of the machine. I nudged it, and it moved. Barely. Bet it's cold, I thought to myself. Maybe hungry, too? Gently, I picked it up and set it in the sunshine on a nearby potted tomato plant, one of two that we've managed to keep alive through the winter.

Then–remembering how Mike and Jeanette fed their butterfly honey and fermented pears–I dashed back inside the house and found a container of honey in the kitchen. I mixed a tad with some water in the lid of a water bottle. Using a toothpick, I applied some to the stem where the bee sat...

Right away, it began to sip!

In fact, for several minutes the bee drank the liquid while I snapped photos. Finally, it began to wash itself like a cat, a sure sign that it was done dining. I returned inside the house to work and eat lunch. Maybe a half hour later, I went back to check on the bee. It was gone. Hearing some buzzing, I looked up and saw a bee (my rescuee?), knocking against the glass window. Grabbing an empty plastic container, I corralled it, then carried the container outside. Right away, the bee flew away.

Where, I'll never know.

On the phone, I'd asked Mike and Jeanette if all the time and effort they'd put into one butterfly had really been worth it. Oh, yes, they said firmly.

Yes–I agree–because every creature that we help even in some small way in their journey on this earth makes a difference. Sometimes, too, one seemingly insignificant boost can ripple out and inspire someone else to do the same.

Most certainly, one lucky bee in Texas has a Monarch with a mended wing to thank.

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