It is that time of the year again. Goldenrod is in bloom, and every waving stand of the splendid yellow stuff is filled with frantically buzzing intoxicated bumblebees. Dusted from stem to stern with gold, the little flyers are like comets or shooting stars, and they travel from flower to flower trailing pollen behind them like showers of stardust.
The gyrations are almost too quick to be captured with my lens, but it is always a treat to watch bumbles lurching from bloom to bloom and kicking up their heels like chorus dancers.
Early mornings are something else again because the cooler nights of late summer slow bees down. Being cold blooded (poikilothermic), they don't maintain a constant body temperature and must warm up for their flight apparatus to function. It is not unusual to find scores of bumbles drowsing among the goldenrod clusters at first light and barely moving - warmth and sunlight are needed on their glossy wings before they can be off again and foraging.
Observing drowsy bumbles in the goldenrod this week, I remembered that they live for only a summer, and it made their obvious pleasure in gathering their daily bread a poignant and beautiful thing.