Just Looking

Bumblebee  (Bombus sonorus) “just looking” into a crossvine flower (Bignonia capreolata)

Whenever our family gathered at my grandparents’ home, my father always made a beeline for Grandma’s pantry.  Roomy and spacious, it never lacked for good things, including homemade cookies. Occasionally, Grandma would ask, “What do you want?” “Nothing,” he’d say. “I’m just looking.”

“Busy as a bee” is a common metaphor, but sometimes “browsing like a bee” works, too. What my father would think of being compared to a bumblebee I’m not certain, but in this case, I suspect he’d recognize the behavior.


Comments always are welcome.

37 thoughts on “Just Looking

    1. That’s exactly what I thought. On the other hand, perhaps he’s calculating whether he’ll fit inside. That’s a big bumblebee, and even though crossvine blooms are large, the fit would be snug.

    1. I’d not thought of that, but it certainly fits. In this era of online shopping, there must be one or even two generations who’ve never experienced the pleasure of going to town and browsing the store windows. Norman Rockwell’s paintings of kids with their noses pressed against the glass capture it perfectly.

    1. Whatever he was humming, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t “Flight of the Bumblebee. That would be a bit much for anyone to hum. (In the linked video, I couldn’t figure out why the conductor was using a spatula rather than a baton. I should have known — at the end, it becomes clear that it isn’t a spatula.)

    1. He’s a fine specimen, isn’t he? I’ve discovered bumblebees are easier to photograph than most butterflies or other bees. They seem to linger a bit longer on their flowers. I wish this were a little sharper, but on the other hand, that dangling leg is delightful.

    1. Or maybe he saw something inside that flower that he didn’t want to deal with. Since I’ve started paying a little more attention, I’ve become aware of how much “evil” can lurk in the hearts of flowers.

      I did find something late last night that caught my attention. It seems that bumble bees also engage in a practice called “buzz pollination.” Crossvine’s not a flower that profits from the technique, but it’s interesting to know that bumblebees have the ability to perform such a neat trick.

  1. Excellent photo, Linda. The bee is so pretty and the cross vine is a lovely native vine that attracts hummers and insects. I’ve never planted one but did plant two at my daughter’s house. She finally cut them down when they proved to be a nuisance after spreading to the eaves and gutters. It is just a matter of where one plants the vine and along a metal fence would be ideal

    1. There’s one abandoned telephone pole I pass on a regular basis that has crossvine twining all the way to the top, where it’s tendrils wave in the breeze. I thought for the longest time it was trumpet vine, but I finally stopped and looked and figured out that it wasn’t. A friend who planted it on a trellis at the side of her house has to regularly trim it up, thanks to its enthusiastic growth patterns. But as an attractor for hummingbirds and bees it can’t be beat.

    1. I think you’re right about the need for speed when it comes to the composition. I found several videos that were promoted with the phrase, “the fastest version! ever!! really!!!”

      When I was out among the still-blooming basket-flowers, it was interesting to watch the bumblebees moving from flower to flower. In the first place, there were a lot of bumblebees; they clearly enjoyed those flowers. But what really caught me was their relatively slow movement. They spent a good bit of time at each flower, burrowing down into its depths, and their flight from one flower to another seemed almost placid. They’re neat creatures, for sure.

    1. It would have been perfect if he had, but Dad wasn’t a hummer or a whistler. He was more given to puns, good or bad, and the occasional droll comment.

      I remember “Ballade.” Reading it again after my recent experience with the angry bumblebee was a good reminder of the ways in which experience can influence our reading of a text. Even a humble bumble can cease hummeling when an assertive buzz is required.

    1. I think the bumblebees are especially fun to watch because of their browsing habits. It’s hard to keep up with most butterflies, or even honey bees for that matter, but these will let you follow along on their pollen tasting. And, as for painting, so for photos. Just as adding the eye highlights and whiskers made such a difference in your portrait of Lizzie, getting the details right makes a photo, too.

    1. He didn’t seem to have a clue, but even if he did, you’re right that he didn’t care. Of course, it helped that he had his back to me. Things might have been different, had we been nose-to-nose. When that happens, I’m usually the one who backs off.

    1. Thanks, Dina! I’m sure you have plenty of these in your garden — except not this species. I looked at your bumblebee conservation trust site, and was impressed. You have some very fancy bumbles over there — quite unlike the ones we have.

  2. I just spent a day watching bumble bees make their way from flower to flower when Peggy and I were taking a layover day on our backpack trip, Linda. It was a great way to while away a few hours, and as always, I wondered about the miracle of the big guys being able to fly with their small wings. In fact, I made a note to include it in my next blog! Great photo. –Curt

    1. Now, that’s my idea of a good time: watching bumble bees buzzing around. I’ve recently learned that flying isn’t their only trick. They also gather pollen from some flowers by vibrating their flight muscles to turn it loose. That will show up in one of my later blogs. These creatures are interesting enough to keep both of us busy as — bees? I’m anxious to see your post about them.

      1. The bumble bees were a lot more fun than the flies and the mosquitoes, Linda. Although I found myself curious about the different sounds flying insects made when I was trying to take a nap. Each insect has its signature sound. –Curt

  3. That’s a cute comparison of dad and bee. Works! Funny how up close the bee is still so fuzzy but the flower petal looks rough and that opening yawning almost ominously…(you just never know what’s bee-yond?)
    Your camera has so much fun

    1. Well, you know — I’m of the Do-Bee and Don’t-Bee generation, and we ended up seeing a lot of things through the bee-prism. Remember the old expression that was used in “Jesus Christ, Superstar”? I can’t remember the last time I heard someone ask, “What’s the buzz?”

      My camera’s going to have a lot more fun once I get its little glitch fixed. Thanks to a helpful woman at Houston Camera, I think I know what’s up, but I’m making a run into town tomorrow to see what the experts have to say. They’ll probably say “two weeks and two hundred dollars,” but I’ll remain hopeful.

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