One of nine beehives kept near the golf course at the Hilton Oak Brook Hills resort. (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)
Recent reports that certain types of bees are experiencing steep population losses were unnerving, especially when you realize that foods and beverages we take for granted — apples, strawberries, walnuts, beer and COFFEE, to name a few — depend on pollination.
There’s so much unsettling news swirling around on a regular basis, from North Korean leaders talking about first-strike nuclear capability to nearly nonstop political "pressers" to Monday morning recaps of urban violence death tolls, that reading about alarming declines in pollinators is another layer to the larger worry of endangerment and possible extinction.
Being the Debbie Downer that I admittedly am, I got thinking one night while I was trying to go to sleep — that being the worst best time to think about the world’s problems — that there many things that I take for granted that might as well be on an endangered list.
I fret sometimes when I look around church on certain Sunday mornings and see an overwhelming amount of churchgoers who are senior citizens. What will these pews look like a generation from now? Who will be there? Who will be presiding over the services? If I don’t go as regularly as I should or could, who am I to cast judgment on people who aren’t there?
Then I think and wonder, there in the dark of night when worry creeps up and takes hold, what about groups that rely on service and honor, such as Scouts and service clubs? I’ve seen participation in some of those groups fall off in recent years, thanks to the popularity of travel and club sports and other factors, and wonder how membership will be sustained into the next few decades.
On the seemingly trivial side of life, I ponder traditions that may go by the wayside, given the inevitable lifestyle and generational shifts. I love pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners and fish frys put on by service organizations, where you can pour yourself a coffee into a Styrofoam or paper cup with the built-in handles and swirl in some powdered creamer. Will those still be part of the community when my kids grow up, or will they be considered a quaint relic of the past or perhaps not even considered at all?
What about Easter egg hunts and Christmas carols, in an era when the populace is wary of marking occasions for one form of religion? And don’t get me started on the reasons why cursive isn’t taught in some schools, because I see the handwriting on the wall, so to speak, for a future that relies awfully heavily on all things electronic.
Progress and time stop for no one. I just hope that, like pollinators that enable the growth of plants and food, that as we march ahead, we take time to stop and feed the roses.