I looked out the front window. It was a warm, cloudless afternoon, but the room had almost imperceptibly darkened, as if a cloud had passed the sun.
There was something in the air, like smoke, or a dust storm.
I went outside and into the front garden. The flowers were out, and the shrubs were in bloom, and the garden was looking nice, and the thing in the air was bees.
Thousands of them. They were flying around in ever decreasing circles like fighter planes homing in on an enemy base. They were silent. I thought swarming bees would buzz but the only hum came from a light plane cutting a line in the northern sky towards Essendon airport.
The bees were circling the old weigela. It could be sixty years old. It's about ten feet tall and almost as wide. It still flowers well, but inside it is like an old hedge with thick gnarled inner branches.
By five o’clock they had settled. How many bees are there in a swarm? It’s the size and shape of a bagpipes, pendulous at the bottom and rising to a peninsula at the top around the main branch about five feet off the ground. The queen is in there somewhere. They look comfortable.
This morning about half past six they were still there, having no doubt had a good night's sleep. A couple of early risers were buzzing around the blooms on the weigela. It's seen a few bees in its life. Maybe not this many at one time.