I went to the blue big box store for some hardware and a quick stroll through the green houses filled with flowers. Standing amidst the colors of summer is like visual music. Humming this tune most clearly, are the precious pollinators; the bees.
Unfortunately these particular flowers are potentially loaded with systemic pesticides called neonicotinoids. These added chemicals can bring death home to the hive, riding the notes of sweet pollen. ‘NEONICS” banned in Europe, are used heavily here, present in many, if not most botanicals, from big box stores.
I stopped to watch the bees on a blue Nepeta in full bloom, counting 10 bees on a single plant. The bees were being bees; unconcerned about place and time. Bees really mind their own business. They are focused and totally driven by the needs of the hive.
Those engaged in gathering the means of survival; the creation of more bees, are mature and experienced females. This is the final job of a multi-career bee. The bee you see gathering nectar is no youngster. She has already in her life cycle: cleaned the hive, nursed the larvae, guarded the front door and fed and protected the Queen. These sweet ladies are on their final run. Gathering is dangerous, and maybe the best task for a bee. She does this work at the end of her life until she dies. She does this “in community, for the good of all,” but she does this task independently.
The Garden Center folk had just unloaded some fresh carts. These racks of flowers had just arrived from parts unknown, and they came with hitchhikers. I spotted three shiny green bees working alongside our usual yellow and black crew. They were smaller, hairless and coated in metallic emerald green. If “Oz” has bees they would look like this. I thought perhaps, they weren’t real bees.
Having a serendipitous moment, I imagined them to be an alien race on reconnaissance. Or could they be some researcher’s cleverly designed mechanical drones seeking answers to our shortage of pollinators. The real bee drones are male and generally don’t carry that level of responsibility. They are pretty much “one trick ponies.” One pirouette in the sky with a new Queen and they are done and dead drones. They have some domestic duties back at the hive. but are the first to be exited when the pollen pickings get slim. Google identified these green newcomers as Green Orchid Bees from somewhere “South of the Border.”
I turned the corner, moving finally toward Hardware. Just two aisles removed from the Summer kaleidoscope of Mums and Marigolds stood a shelf four tiers high and twenty feet long. Any product commanding that amount of shelf space in a big box store is a moneymaker. The shelves were completely filled with red, white and blue plastic containers, four deep. They were arranged in precise rows seemingly at attention, with weapon-esque sprayers strapped to their sides, all ready to dispense some twisted human justice.
What I saw was a conquering army poised to attack. Concentrated poison promising insect free, lifeless gardens standing right here in amongst the plants. Plants that need insects to pollinate their flowers. I began to feel a pattern forming. I begin to feel sick.
I walked the length of the aisle, twice, looking at each container. There was a theme: an illustration of the potential “damage”, chewed leaf, aphid covered rose, thin grass etc. A superimposed grossly magnified insect portrait of the perpetrator of this disaster was front and center. The truth was told in tiny print on the back of the label. This elixir is willing and able to kill everything it touches, every kind of bug, indiscriminately.
What about those who prey upon those, who prey upon them? We can assume that birds, frogs, dogs, cats, children might also be at risk with improper use, wet weather or unexpected wind. The pictures on the bottles are not the enemy, it is us.
Aphids on Roses have never ruined a life. Angry words, resentful thoughts, these can shrivel an adult, and a child won’t fair as well. (see Be Careful They will Hear You
I was face to face with the masters of our universe. The mightier purveyors of Indiscriminate death and maniacal manipulation. These products are created from the depths of impossibly deep pockets with no international borders. These are the products of behemoth industries, soon to be a single industry. These potent killers are on store shelves everywhere, deadly poisons in user friendly packages.
A metaphor for the smiling well-groomed folk that occupy the media arena. Throw some anger and hate out into the world like meat to hungry dogs. See how we tear at it, anxious to feel the burn of anger. Keep spraying the country with fear and anger.
I stood in the Big Box store and took in the schizophrenic rantings of the chemical trade. “Fertilizer and weed killer in one application.” Yes, this company makes cancer causers, and cancer treatments, pharmaceuticals, sunscreen and Pesticides and pills. They are indiscriminate in their creation, indiscriminate in their killing. And we are willing participants.
And we, as a culture are indiscriminate in what we choose to spray on our lawns and out of our mouths. Angry hateful spiteful thoughts are poison in red white and blue wrappers that promise you a better life.
We have all become extremists in our views, no time for discourse, no time for thought. Repeat what you heard, assume you know what I think, assume your information is correct, and assume you know best.
You can always get out the pesticides for everyone else.
I have assigned myself the task of living with as much integrity as I can dig up or cultivate in my garden. It is a far simpler way to live. I will disconnect from the continuous pollution and poisoning of our emotional environment that is seeking to damage our cultural connective tissue. When it is acceptable to celebrate hate, it is time for the rest of us to generate something different.
Wake up and stop spreading poison. It is impossible to know who the enemy is…
“If we continue to spread poison only those who created it will survive”