Wasps, Ants, and Bees

I want to be the honeybee. That’s a bit out of order, story-wise, but here’s the deal. I wrote the end of this blog months ago, before the recent mother emergencies. Now that I’m pulling out of the hospital crisis and finding my new normal, I am finding myself in a sweet hive of helper bees, overwhelming me with honey. I LOVE YOU ALL! Thanks for the practical things – the hospital bed, the shower and toilet chairs, the grab bar, the step ladder and the hot water tank fixing. Thanks for gathering around us, and not letting us feel alone in the world. I will make honey for all of you, in return, someday. Here is a drop, in a little bug story.

You know that common-sense but impossible-to-always-remember fact that you never know when and how life will suddenly be out-of-control-crazy? Stuff happens. So, I’m part of some groups of people, at work, in my church, some writing groups, my family, my political community. Recently, there was some drama in one of these groups, where a dissatisfied member felt the need to stir the pot, to add too many strong spices, and to bring everyone to a rolling boil, the burnt soup state. We all stewed over the whole mess for weeks.

Near the end of this social kerfuffle, on a night when I couldn’t sleep, I had an odd half-dream. I pictured a stick being poked into an ants’ nest. When it was pulled out, there were several wasps clinging to the stick. Later, awake, my imagination added to the story. Some of the wasps flew away, one feigned attack, while another turned out to be a helpful honeybee. I played with these images in my mind. Who was I in this story? In past situations, I have been the ant, I have been the wasp, and I have been the person who stuck the stick into the ant pile. This was all idle helpful thinking.

Two days later, clearing weeds on my land, I stumbled into a yellow-jacket nest in the ground. Within seconds I was stung a dozen times. I fled, throwing off wasp-ridden clothes, and jumped into the cool water in my 100 gallon stock tank.  After the winged ones all drowned or flew away, I lurched inside and lay on my bed for twenty minutes waiting for the adrenalin to ebb, trying to remember what planet I was on. I swelled up, burned and itched, scratched like a lunatic for a couple weeks.  What I realized then was that it’s impossible to ever truly know what part I am playing in any story.

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