Don’t worry, bee happy
It could’ve ended much worse. So very much worse.
I was visiting my parents in Red House last weekend when I noticed some weeds growing up through the brick sidewalk that runs along the front of their house. It was mostly just a spray of clover here and a patch of wild strawberry there. Nothing too awfully bad. Since the weather had been nice as I already lingered outdoors, I began plucking my way along, tugging out the strays without much trouble.
Until I reached a patch of crabgrass about an inch-wide by several feet long.
Unlike the compliant clover and wild strawberry, this crab-grass was determined to stay. My first few tugs were fruitless. I assumed a wider stance and firmer grip. I began twisting as I pulled, leaning back as I did in order to allow my weight to assist, and... nothing.
I tried again. Two blades of grass came off in my glove. I grabbed a nearby screwdriver and rooted around in the ground a bit and then tried again. Gave it everything I had. Pulled hard. Leaned back. Twisted to both sides.
It was a bit more than enough
Envision, if you will, a fierce tug of war. One side simultaneously releasing its half of the rope just as the other redoubles and assumes its mightiest pull. Except in this instance, the releasing side was a sly wedge of grass and the opposing a middle-aged woman in flip-flops. And then—what the heck? There had been the added addition of a raised brick behind my foot for good measure.
The only thing missing from my graceless backward careening could have been the comical Scooby Doo sound effect.
I slammed hard, side-of-head first, into the house, and then toppled sideways, smacking the house hard a second time with my arm before splaying flat on my back on the ground. I had thoroughly rung my own bell. As I lay on the sidewalk, waiting for the gonging to stop, my eyes gradually began to focus again. And they focused on what was hanging directly above me. And wobbling.
A hornet’s nest.
This thing of my nightmares was huge and poorly constructed; the size and shape of the biggest waffle cone made, yet attached to the soffit by a sliver. The force of my smack set it to swaying, sending dozens of hornets buzzing about. They’d flight on their hive for a moment and then take off again, each angry action making the hive wobble harder.
This is about to get so very much worse, I thought.
I could picture the hive falling, could imagine swatting madly at the bees. Could see myself tripping over other loose bricks as I ran and the swarm descending on me. Within moments, my imagination had conjured multiple scenarios, each worse than the last. A full panic had began brewing in my mind.
I tried to gather myself enough to crab-walk into the yard, but my movement only drew their attention. A few buzzed down toward me.
Most of what you worry about never happens, I told myself.
I’ve been battling to overcome my worrywart tendencies, knowing the nonsense scenarios I come up with are often nothing beyond my imagination’s creations. I anticipate the most horrible things, and then play them again and again until they begin to feel real. I could feel it happening again, so I took a deep breath and held it. Closed my eyes. Remained as still as I could. Told myself whatever the intentions were going to happen, they would happen. They would come whether I worried or not.
I decided to trust that the tiny tether holding that massive hive to the house would continue to hold just as it had through one fierce storm after the next.
For years, my fear of bees has petitioned to advance higher on my list of phobias, but remained solidly in third chair. Had this ended differently, public speaking would’ve never known first chair again. But it didn’t.
The swaying soon stopped and the hornets settled and their butts stopped pulsing in their determined creepy and threatening way. I gathered myself enough to make it to Mom and Dad’s couch, where I soon fell asleep.
And dreamed about bees.
Karin Fuller can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.