The other day Daniel and I took a ride out to his grandmother's land in Quequén to see how the sunflower crop was coming along. As we neared the field, I was greeted by row upon row of smiling yellow faces swaying, bowing and bending in unison with the wind, all pointed eastward in the direction of their namesake.
[Nerdy side note: Did you know that one of the reasons sunflowers follow the sun is to please the bees? The sunlight warms the flower – and therefore its nectar – and it seems that bees and other pollinators have a preference for piping hot nectar.]
I hopped out of the car and walked along the perimeter of the field between the flowers and the barbed wire fence, looking for the perfect spot to start snapping away. I expected Daniel to join me, but when he didn't appear I figured he'd decided to wait in the car.
The field was absolutely teeming with bees in their signature black and yellow suits. Their collective buzz filled the air, and they whizzed past me hurriedly in the search for their prized nectar. At one point I saw a single sunflower with 5 honeybees on it. Though I momentarily contemplated a shot, I decided that I didn't like the odds of 5 on 1, so I lowered my camera and waited a few minutes until they'd flown off.
Up until a few years ago, a Japanese beekeeper used to bring his colony to Daniel's grandmother's land to pollinate the crops. The bees would make loads of honey, some of which the beekeeper gifted to Daniel's family. At the time, there were caretakers living on the land, and so there was always someone to keep an eye on the bees. These days no one lives on the land, and so the beekeeper stopped bringing the hives for fear that someone would steal them (!). Yep, that's right – there are idiots out there that would steal giant wooden boxes filled with bees.
At any rate, not ten minutes had passed since we'd arrived when Daniel came zooming up in the car. He hollered to me in a panicked voice from the open passenger-side window, "I've been stung by a bee – on my forehead!" It had been many years since he'd last been stung, and he wasn't sure how he might react. We didn't take any chances; we headed straight home. The sunflowers and I didn't get much face time, but at least I managed to press that shiny silver button on my camera a few times before I was whisked away. After all, I needed a couple of pretty pictures to go along with my story.
Just in case you're wondering, Daniel came through the incident unscathed. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the bee.