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The sky is falling! OK, it was a big tree against the Times!

Sweetness after the fall

If a tree falls on a newspaper building and all of the editors and reporters and photographers are there to hear it … is there any sound?


About 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, while I was sitting at my desk writing my Wednesday column, there was suddenly a huge BOOM … CRASH … BANG … that sounded like the sky was indeed falling. Personally, I thought the building was collapsing. For a moment there was dead silence as every head in the newsroom was turned to look at the side of the room where there were now LOUD SCRAPING SOUNDS.

Suddenly, people were running for all the doors, most of them carrying video cameras, plain old ordinary cameras and cell phones. That’s what newspaper reporters, photographers and editors do when something unusual happens. They run toward the event to see what’s happening … not away from it.

Outside, the wind was blowing pretty hard. As I ran around the front side of the building, I saw a huge 30- to 40-year-old redwood tree had broken in the wind about seven or eight feet up and fallen against the Times. Amazingly, although there were lots of scratches on the side of our building, there were no holes.

The tree didn’t fare so well. Right where it broke was a large hollow with an enormous honeybee hive. The tree had snapped at that point because the hollow made it weak.

Honeycomb from fallen tree outside Times newsroomThere was a lot of honeycomb and plenty of bees still clustered all over the surface. A few bees were flying around, most were quiet … lethargic because it was too cold.

Back at my desk, I got my list of “swarm list volunteers” from the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association. The beekeeper I reached will be out to try and rescue the bees that are still around tomorrow morning.

I hope he’ll be able to save them. Honeybees, for assorted reasons, haven’t been doing too well the last couple of years. Mostly, scientists are still trying to figure out why.

Anyway, it was still good to see a large active honeybee hive in the area. Even if they did make me think the sky was falling. /gary

Posted on Tuesday, January 8th, 2008
Under: bees, weather | No Comments »