If all God's creatures have a place in the choir, there will be a lot of buzzing going on today in the state of my birth.A funeral service for 50,000 fallen bees is scheduled for this afternoon in the parking lot of the Wilsonville, Ore., Target store. There, in the words of its organizer, the departed insects' human advocates will gather to "memorialize the fallen life forms" cut down earlier this month in the prime of life because of the misapplication of the pesticide Safari.The bee deaths occurred when trees outside the Target store were sprayed while bees were apparently in the process of pollinating them.It's true that American bees have been having a tough go of it lately, due mainly to the spread of a mysterious colony-collapse disorder that claims the lives of nearly one-third of the nation's bee population annually. But the bee-spraying incident didn't leave me as outraged as the funeral organizers, who railed against the "injustice and brutality of bees being murdered."To me, pesticide and homicide do not quite equate.Of course, I grew up in east-of-the-Cascades Oregon, where the worldview tends to be a little less lofty and Portlandia
than the more populated and urbane western part of the state.
Instead of mourning the loss of the bees and their crucial role as agricultural pollinators, I find myself wondering what it would be like to attend a bee funeral. I figure smoking wouldn't be allowed, but...Would bringing flowers to a bee funeral be in bad taste?Would I have any trouble borrowing a comb?Would the speaker drone on and on, wax poetic, or merely wing it?Would Sting be available?Would most attendees be buzzed?And a final, more metaphysical question: If the sting of death is sin, then could the death of stings be virtue?