My post-bee attack strategy is to be more aware in the garden. . . It is not a good idea to weed in the evening, after the sun has gone down, but even so, I should've heard the buzzing as the bees went in and out of that hole in the ground. I've been back to the scene of the attack several times, and they are easy to see and hear as they go about their business. I must've been in some kind of Zen meditation state, completely focused on the task at hand (removing the weeds from around the mint), or maybe it was completely the opposite--maybe I wasn't focused inward or outward, maybe I was just being oblivious. . . At any rate, when I work, now, in the garden, I tread more lightly, I listen more intently. . Not only do the birds and insects (and snakes) have a great deal to say, a great deal to teach me, but so do the flowers. . . For many years I thought I had to harvest and sell every bloom in the garden to make a profit. . . I was over-harvesting the flowers to death, literally. There were no seeds to self-seed. Not enough strength to spread. The flowers were trying to tell me this, but I wasn't listening. . . Now when I go into the garden, I stop, look and listen. There are not only warning signs, but so many secrets just waiting to be shared. It is truly a sacred place.
This past week I was weeding in the flower garden one lovely evening, when I heard a little buzz in my ear. I brushed it away, as I would any annoyance, but then numerous stings on my body occurred. My first thought was red ants, but then I saw it was bees. Down my shirt, down my jeans. A planned attack! I must've plunged my weeding tool into their nest in the ground, or damn near it. . . I just read that the best thing to do in case of a bee attack is to run like hell (don't roll around the ground)! Head for the house! That I did, while stripping down. Luckily, there are no neighbors around! They were tenacious little buggers, following me all the way to the house, but, thankfully, none made it inside. Once safe, I assessed the damage--10 stings in all in very painful places. I made a baking soda and water paste and that helped soothe the pain, but not my pride. These little bees had definitely put me in my place! And I also felt bad that I may have destroyed their nest. Every bee is precious these days. They are the world's great pollinators. And Colony Collapse is a real and frightening epidemic. We all have to do what we can to save the bees. So, please, put down the herbicides (and pesticides) and pick up your weeding tool. Just be careful where you dig!
I teach Fiction Writing on-line for Union Institute out of Brattleboro, VT and co-own and operate a specialty cut flower farm on the Eastern Shore of MD. I am a published poet and short story writer and am currently in search of a literary agent to represent my first novel, "We Were Here." Contact me at email@example.com And please visit our website at Galenablooms.com