With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells."
--John Keats in "To Autumn"
Those elegant words perfectly introduce the season of bee petting. When the bees curl up all plump and dewy-furred against warm bricks and asphalt, I carefully stroke their soft backs. It is an unusually serene bonding experience! Sometimes they raise a fuzzy leg in weak acknowledgement, and then I leave them alone. When the laborious bees slow their whirling around the flowers I can tell the year is truly shifting into a tranquil yet vibrant phase. It is a rich and rustic time in which I adore the photo opportunities of everyday life.