Nature Blog Network Future Earth: Sweetness and Light

Monday, 19 May 2008

Sweetness and Light

The excited voices reached us across the clearing - the honeygatherers were already high on a rare sugar rush, hands sticky with fresh, wild honey, shaking their heads to ward off the angry bees coming out of their smoky coma and resenting the destruction of their hard labour. This treat had required scaling the heights of the gigantic baobab where the bees had constructed their castle safe from marauding honey badgers, filling its hexagonal vaults with the nectar gathered from the woodlands of northern Mozambique.

A sharp intake of breath - we had seen that that the honeygathers were oblivious to the large "tusker" - a bull elephant in his prime, mellow ivory tusks weighing down his weighty head, swaying slowly down the hill into the same clearing, just a few feet away through the scrubby trees. In an instant, he was alerted to their presence and paused, ready for action..... swinging surprisingly athletically on his heels and making the choice to move away, lifting the dust of Africa into the sunlit air.

Why is this moment in time on today's blog? Partly because I felt the cloying depression of what we are doing to our world and needed to lift myself back out of it with some sweetness and light! Partly because the question of food security is increasingly becoming part of our daily lives, and partly through the train of thought generated by the reaction to Barak Obama calling a journalist "sweetie"! "Honey", "Sweetie", "Sugar".... all sweet names for people we like - and depend upon.

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