Saturday, 28 March 2020

Lockdown Day 5 - bees and community

The wind has shifted around to the east and there is a noticeably cold wind. Again the allotment task for today was general tidying but also sowing parsnip seeds which we save from previous year's plants. They will come up without fail when they feel like it and are a fairly low maintenance crop.

There are one or two bumble bees about, and we try to make sure that in the garden and the allotment there is something for them to forage when they come out of hibernation. Although dandelions can be a nuisance and need to be kept under control, at this time of year the flower heads are a very useful early food for bees that have just woken up.

We've had bees hibernate in the house before now! This one we found in the spare bedroom last year and popped it outside to wake up in the sunshine. I have a longer description of this bee here http://www.cashandcarrots.com/2019/04/tawny-mining-bee.html

In the past in the allotment we have had red and white tailed bumble bees, carder bees, mason bees and some solitary bee species over the years. We leave such as leeks to go to seed and a few wild flowers such as poppies to flourish in corners, as well as having lavender, marigolds, comfrey, nasturtiums and of course the Spring blossom of all our fruit trees. Bees are a community, each type of bee within the hive has a defined task, some to forage, some to guard the nest some to service the Queen and see to the egg cavities. Co-operation is the key, without one, the colony is at risk, without sufficient workers, the food for the colony runs out.

One things that has struck me over the past couple of weeks is the sense of community, of many people selflessly helping out others. The social network of a village or street or town is vital to ensure no one is left out, no one is left without food or assistance in such testing times as these. Our wider social networks both on and offline enable problems to be highlighted to a wider audience and people power has influence even at the highest levels of governance.

Of course, this social fabric isn't a new thing, community groups,  people looking out for one another isn't something that has just sprung into life, but the response to the appeal for assistance for the NHS, whether for retired staff - over 7000 last time I looked or for volunteers - 650,000 at last look, is proof that there exists many selfless individuals out there that want to do their bit for others, and we can add in the many people already doing such things in their communities.

Once this is over, and it will be over,  we need to keep that network, keep making sure those less fortunate or housebound or frail or with life long conditions are able to access the support they need, that those who can offer skills are given the chance to use them and the reward for labour is just and fair and recognises that there is no such thing as a "low skill" job, that everyone - whatever their background, race, origin or life story is given a chance to contribute to our society and is recognised fairly for it, not demonised or belittled or told they don't deserve it or aren't welcome.

Meanwhile, we need to realise that the same determination and stoicism shown in the early 1940s is needed here. That we are all - whether working, volunteering, caring, or simply following the rules to stay home, keep our distance, good hygiene and only purchasing what we need - are all contributing to the outcome we all want, that as few people as possible suffer with this dreadful virus and that once the virus is subdued that we bring about the society we would wish to live in - a fair and just society, a clean environment, a hopeful society where equality and tolerance is second nature, and one where all levels of power and influence are committed to putting others first, not their own financial reward or stature.

The news is, unfortunately, going to get darker before it gets brighter. Such was the case in 1940 but people were inspired to carry on, make personal sacrifices and put themselves in harms way to win the eventual freedom. Already in the far east we are seeing what happens if the control and healthcare measures are applied rigorously, many people there are emerging from lockdown and are able to now start rebuilding their lives. The virus can be subdued and with the help of science, will be controlled. For many, this is an anxious time, indeed a dangerous time, and we all need to do our bit to keep each other safe, supported and loved and to value those who are keeping us fed, those who care for the sick, frail and vulnerable, those whose service puts them in harms way or is essential to ensure we have the vital services we depend on.

Fidelis in Parvo          Faithfulness in little things

Stay safe, stay well, look after each other
Michelle
28th March 2020






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