Inspiration comes in many forms at Chicago Botanic Garden

  • Busy honey bees work at collecting pollen from this flower at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe in the late fall.

      Busy honey bees work at collecting pollen from this flower at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe in the late fall. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Mark Welsh

    Mark Welsh

 
 
Updated 12/6/2021 10:18 AM

It was all by chance and definitely a last-second decision to take a left when I should have turned right when I was at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe late in October.

I was there covering a naturalization ceremony in which immigrants from around the suburbs were being sworn in as new citizens by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer. It truly was a moving experience for the 35 people who gathered there, raising their right hands, the transformation from immigrant to an American citizen took only a few words from the Oath of Allegiance to complete the process. It was amazing to witness the pure emotion felt by those 35 people, and as I left that assignment, I saw out of the corner of my eye these beautiful flowers in full bloom outside in the garden.

 

I thought it was a little odd that the flowers were as vibrant that late in the fall. That is where the left turn came into play. When I got closer, the two honey bees were trading spots back and forth collecting pollen through electrostatic forces which they use to gather material to take back to their nest. I captured the action and marveled how they paid me no-nevermind as I inched closer and they continued with their busy bee activities.

Looking closely at the image, I was amazed to see such eye-popping details -- like the frozen bee wing, clear, strong and yet ever so fragile. It is made of chitin which is a lot like the keratin that makes up our fingernails. I walked away from both events that day, one planned naturalization the other a spontaneous fertilization ... happy with my results.

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