Bumblebees in Autumn / by Brandon

Early in autumn and late in the afternoon, when grasses and flowers gone to seed glow under a strong low sun, bumblebees gather on goldenrods and aster. They sip nectar from these, the season's last blooms; pollen dots their coats. At dusk they remain, sometimes sharing a flowerhead. Their hive spans over, this time is their last, but also their own.

Resting on petals, faces buried in pistils — how glorious it must be, olfactories sensitive to single molecules of a blossom's scent, to lie on a bed of pollen! Falling asleep with the satisfaction of a job well done, a stomach full of sunshine. In the morning they're gone: off to enjoy another day, or resurrected in a sparrow's song.

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