Just when you think you know everything, you realize that you don't. I was out in the yard the other day and spied a couple bees attending to some early-opening flowers. I drew closer to watch, and as I did, noticed that the buzzing sound coming from the pair, sounded funny. It turns out that the bees, carpenters both, were using battery-powered 'DeWalt' Pollinators. I was stunned.
Carpenter bees are not honey bees. They pollinate, but then they go out for lunch. They don't live in big hives, but rather small nests, maybe a semi-detached; something in a nice area with services and parks. They love wood. They're Carpenters. Makes sense.
"So why the flowers?" I asked.
The bigger one yelled up over the sound of the DeWalt and told me that they were "picking up some extra cash for their band. Since the honey bees aren't doing so well, they've been hiring other bees on contract to help with the load, and paying quite well."
"Me and Jed play trumpet and sax. You know; Jazz, and we need some dough to hire a bass player and a drummer for an upcoming gig," he said.
"Of course" I said, and nodded as if I wasn't phased.
The smaller bee stopped working, holstered his DeWalt in his little carpenter bee belt, reached down and drank from a 'Tiny Tim's' coffee cup. He looked up at me, as he changed his battery, and explained that, "For us, it used to be all about the wood. Life was empty and predictable. Then one day we were chewing into the tastiest wooden soffits on an older home, when we heard the sound of Miles Davis unravelling out this window. We stopped chewing. We were in awe."
Then the bigger bee stopped what he was doing, nodded, and said that, "Right after that, we heard Coltrane, riding the same velvet sweep out that window. A 1959 live recording of Davis' 'So What.' That changed us forever man. That stuff rearranges your soul. It plugs you in."
And with that, the two reached down and pulled out a tiny little trumpet, a tiny little sax, and belted out a few bars. It was perfect.
They put their instruments away, nodded up at me, and went back to work. I stood slowly, walked inside and took a cool drink of water. Then I put 'So What' on the CD player. I listened and it all started to make sense. The bees are more plugged in than we are. It's no surprise that this sound grabbed them the way it did, I thought. With that, I finished my water, looked over, and noticed the dog tapping his foot to the music. I sat upright and stared. And I am absolutely sure, and will swear to this day, that he winked at me.
I would never lie.