Monday, November 4, 2013

On the Bee-ducational Path at Pillersee

Yesterday evening our neighbors came home after a family bike ride all bundled up in warm jackets and scarves, hats and gloves. I was standing there at my door barefoot in shorts and a not-very-clean T-shirt.

"Um," they said collectively.

"What." The only thing missing from my summer-fun gear was an umbrella-ed drink, sunglasses and a Panama hat (OK, a few things were missing). "Just a second." I re-appeared with the full look.

"Better," they said, still muffled in their scarves.

"Yeah," I said. "It's still summer on the ground floor." Although yesterday was quite cold and rainy, we were still hanging on to the last rays of summer.

From Thursday to Saturday, we went on three hikes, two in Austria and one above Tegernsee near Munich. The beauty of hiking off-season is that you aren't trudging behind groups of gabbing tourists dressed (poorly) as hikers, fathers pushing prams up steep paths and cats on leashes. I've seen it all.

On Thursday we drove and drove and drove because Oscar the Carpaccio Pounder wanted to treat us to the Teufelskamm (Devil's Ridge!!) near St. Ulrich in Austria. The drive took at least 30 pop songs, around 30 too many considering the yawn factor of the Teufelskamm.

The dreaded Devil's Ridge. OK, I was afraid to get close to the edge.

The walk around Pillersee is easy and, as it turns out, educational. There's a Bienenlehrpfad, or a bee-ducational walk for those of you who don't speak German. The bee-ducational walk, though, left a few questions buzzing around in my mind. Forgive my stupidity (think Cocker Spaniel crossed with Homer Simpson), but I couldn't figure out from the picture of the bee's anatomy where the honey comes out.

"The butt?" I ventured.

To my defense, Oscar the Carpaccio Pounder didn't know the answer either. "Sounds logical," he said.

"Does not." I grimaced, studied the bee's anatomy for another more felicitous aperture. "Hmmm." I said. "Could it be? Could honey be bee poop? I mean, all they eat is sugar, right? Right?"

Oscar was already way down the bee-ducational path, already reading about pollen or something. So this question dogged me all the way around Pillersee, back to the car and back to Munich. "The butt?" I kept saying. "No."

And as it turns out, honey is not bee poop; it's bee puke. And not just once, but twice. The harvesters puke the honey into the mouths of the bees who stay in the hive, and then these bees puke it up again. Doesn't this sound so much better than bee poop?

I'll leave you with this thought and a few impressions of Pillersee.

A Kneippanlage at Pillersee. You walk through this to increase your circulation.

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, Crack the Spine, The Best of Every Day Fiction, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen. Recently, Allen--along with editors Michelle Elvy and Linda Simoni-Wastila--hosted Flash Mob 2013 in celebration of International Flash Fiction Day.