Su Lum: On smoke & bees |

Su Lum: On smoke & bees

As I write today, Sunday, the air is miraculously clear of the thick layer of smoke that has hung over the valley for the past several days. The smoke, coming as it did from Denver, Glenwood, Durango and Arizona, made it seem as if the whole WEST were on fire. Of course it wasn’t as depressing or upsetting to be surrounded by smoke as it was for those who had to flee from the conflagrations, but still, it was great to see the sun come out today.Meanwhile, please don’t burn your mail or play with matches.Between the fires, the smoke, the drought and the economy, everyone is really edgy this summer.The last hot, dry summer like this that I remember was in 1977, following the no-snow winter. The Roaring Fork River was a depressing trickle and the earth underfoot crunched like cinders. There was no sign of rain, and it was so HOT. I huddled in front of my cold-air steamer, using it as a swamp cooler, and wrapped myself in wet towels.Finally, well into July, a hellsapoppin’ dunder and blitzen mother of a storm came in late at night. I ran outside in my nightgown just as the sky cracked open and it began to pour, and stood on the grass with my arms flung wide, my head back and my mouth open, drinking in the rain. I hope we get another storm like that, at Mother Nature’s earliest convenience.Another peculiar thing about this summer has been an inundation of BEES. I’ve never seen so many bees in my life: bees in the office, bees in the kitchen, bees in the car. Every time I come into this room to use the computer, there’s a bee flying around. I whoosh it out the window, and as it’s going out another one flies in.I started asking people if they’d noticed a proliferation of bees and they said, “Yeah, man, a LOT of bees this summer.”Two weeks ago I was reading Ed Colby’s sweet column, “To Bee or Not to Bee,” and damned if he didn’t say that he had been trucking his bees up to ASPEN because it’s so dry in New Castle where his hives are!”I don’t know what to do about my bees,” he wrote. “The little darlings are in Aspen for now, and maybe for all summer. They’re currently feasting on dandelion, serviceberry and chokecherry blossoms, and they’re making honey. They dutifully bring in very large quantities of pollen, and I go up every four days or so to empty the traps.”I think we need another column from Ed Colby to clarify this matter. How many of the little darlings are you talking about? How do you transport bees to greener pastures? Do you lead them here like the Pied Piper, or do you bring a truckload of hives, and set them down somewhere? Where? Do you need a bee permit? And TRAPS? What kind of traps? After the initial shock at the plethora of bees, I really don’t mind them. They do not divebomb, buzz or (so far) sting – they appear to be, indeed, darling bees, perhaps lethargic due to all the smoke – but I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept. Speaking of the Pied Piper, what if you were raising darling RATS? If conditions were more favorable here, would it be OK to send them to summer camp in Aspen?[Su Lum is a longtime local who enjoys Ed’s column, is tolerant of bees, loves honey and is just asking. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.]

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