March is always a great month of looking forward. During January and February, nature has been sitting there like a coiled spring, and now the first signs of life are just starting to show. As a Christian with a definite slant towards all things Celtic and the heritage of St Cuthbert, Lindisfarne, Iona and the like, spring always has a special significance of joy and anticipation. Bulbs sprouting, buds bursting, with a background of warmer times and birdsong lead us inexorably to an empty tomb and a celebration of new life.
Many look out for, and celebrate, the first sightings of the swallows after their marathon journey from Africa. But for me it is the first sightings of the queen bumble bees that I find so exciting. These outsized furry insects with their characteristic flight, and enthusiastic ‘buzzing’ when they find that early flower is simple thrilling. They are some of the earliest pollinators and are of course protected against the cold by that wonderful and colourful fur coat.
Apparently, if you examine the insect from a technical point of view, you will come to a surprising conclusion. Taking into account their weight, muscle power, wingspan, wing profile and general aerodynamics… they can’t fly. They are aerodynamically impossible!
However, they obviously do fly.
The obvious conclusion is to see the hand of the Creator and rightly so. However I would like to add to this. The Celtic saints’ writings and some of their wonderful illuminations often show some hidden humour. So I’d like to suggest an additional take on the bumble bee’s aerodynamic abilities.
Why and how does the bumble bee fly?
The bumble bee chooses to ignore what man says can’t be done!
God bless your path this March.