The sunflowers at the end of my driveway are volunteers – I didn’t plant them or water them, they just appeared. And, they are a very welcome addition, especially now that they are in full bloom. One morning when I stopped to admire them, the cluster was literally buzzing. As I watched the bees moving this way and that, I leaned in even closer. It was then that I realized that the bees were literally dusted with pollen! The pollen covered their legs, heads, and bodies.
That should not have been all that surprising. Yet, as I watched the bees at work, I realized that I was witnessing a small miracle. I considered that this small miracle plays out on flowering plants all over the world, every day, thanks to the more than 20,000 known bee species (yes, you read that number correctly), as well as butterflies, hummingbirds, flies, and other pollinators. Thinking more about bees, a little research revealed that bees have been around over 100 million years, meaning bees (as well as flowering plants) avoided mass extinction during the event that killed off the dinosaurs. I am in awe. So the next time you pass a sunflower (or any flower for that matter), lean in. Look for the bees. Prepare to be amazed.