I helped build some beehives for a community garden in the East Village this afternoon. They are setting up two hives; the bees themselves will arrive in a few weeks. The structures come in kits, pre-cut, quite easy to put together. Two wee spites helped me, sisters named Imogin and Ursula, both wery cute holding a hammer with both hands. Their dad told me that they had a tool kit in preschool, but that the nails were much smaller! Afterwards, there was painting: I did a sun on one side and stripped another side with black and yellow.
There were bees in this particular garden a few years ago, but the mites got them. And the garden suffered as a result. Bees are under ferocious onslaught these days, with two kinds of mites hitting hives hard; now, there’s a lot of talk about entire hives disappearing in “colony collapse disorder.” In this, the thousands of adult bees that make up a hive simply disappear, leaving the brood capped and plenty of reserves of honey. Nobody knows the cause yet, although global warming, pesticides, and genetically modified crops are all suggested as causes or contributing agents. Considering the vital importance of bees to pollination of both wild and domesticated tree crops, not to mention making gardens a hell of a lot more productive, this is really bad news. And, it seems to me, a real canary-in-a-coalmine situation.
Later, I saw Imamura’s Black Rain, about the years-later effect of the Hiroshima bombing. A heartbreaking work, as a husband, wife, and their niece all cope with the unknown long-term effects of radiation poisoning.
Coming out of BAM, I was happy to see Venus burning brightly in an otherwise light-drowned sky. The evening star's one place at least that the species hasn’t managed to fuck up yet.