As a child I used to run barefoot on clover lawns and to this day can remember the many painful bee stings I would endure as the honeybees worked the tiny flowers for pollen. Legend has it that the more you are stung, the more allergic your reaction to bee stings becomes. I believe it, because now when I suffer a sting, the affected part or extremity swells up badly—really badly, for weeks. The last time I was stung I was riding my motorcycle through Yellowstone and can remember a bug hitting my cheek and instant and excruciating pain. I got Marc’s attention and we pulled over; I fought the helmet quickly off my head, the bee flew out and Marc noted that my cheek was already starting to swell. By the time we got back to our campground hours later, the entire side of my face was two sizes too big.
A little while ago there was a report about two Phoenix women out walking in the evening in a city neighborhood when they were attacked by a swarm of bees. They ended up hospitalized and the experts are saying this could be a bad year for bee swarms in southern Arizona. To make matters worse, some have been Africanized. All around us now, the desert blooms full of yellow and red color. I wanted pictures but I don’t like to tempt fate needlessly so for the most part I have been staying away from solitary desert excursions.
Even the Ocotillos have taken on brilliant colors, fully fleshed out with their miniature green leaves, a sight rarely seen most of the year.
Then there is our orphan volunteer tree; we think it’s a Mexican Palo Verde. Its seed must have been dropped out of a bird one day to just start growing. Its pinnate leaves are much smaller, growing on longer feathery stems, than those I find elsewhere around here, domestic or wild. It also doesn’t flower nearly so much although the small flowers show amazingly intricate detail. That works to save the bees to buzz around other trees, in other neighborhoods and yards, which is just fine with me.