I went to bed last night with this nagging feeling that I might die. Not that I would die, but that I might.
I know I’ll die, of course I do. Of course I will. But minus a few exciting moments in my life I don’t regularly consider this as an impending situation for myself. Last night, as I lay next to Violet, who was sound asleep by hours already, I battled a few different philosophies around the idea of dying and somehow fell fast asleep.
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I am allergic to bees. Very allergic. If the allergist who discovered this for me read my blog he might have said I was ‘allergic-squared’ because I am. But instead he said I was ‘off the charts’ allergic. I have only known this for less than two years now and so my relationship with bees, which has always been a bit odd anyway, has shifted.
I am a gardener by trade and by passion and so I spend quite a bit of time with bees. I still love them and find them more fascinating and beautiful than most animals (octopi and elephants also making the list of top-animal-awe). I understand that bees do more good for the world than I could ever thank them for – but there is this new twist to it now. If one of them, just one, just any ol’ bee, for whatever reason, was to sting me – who knows- and that scares me in the same way that all of those things that could, but haven’t, and probably won’t, but could, things scare me. It ‘s peripheral, but it’s there.
Most days I have a pocket full of Benadryl and an Epi Pen in my bag, just in case. And when they are buzzing around I am still not afraid of them really, they’re just doing their thing and I know that, but I’m obviously more on guard than I use to be. But we still get on together as a pretty strong team: I weed, sculpt, tend to and water the earth around their flowers, plants and berries while they pollinate and flourish the colors and fruits and buds into their fullest, illuminated ability. Not a bad team, right?
But I do, and have always had, this odd relationship with bees, that for the most part I think would be too hard to explain. But quite simply, I’ll be, or the bee will be, in the strangest of places for a bee to be – and still somehow, there will be me and a bee.
I have been on an 60 story elevator ride alone with a bee. I recently found a dead bee in the bag I took to work each day. A bee and I once drove through 4 different states together without my knowing (until it left me at a rest stop in Tennessee). I once walked an entire block, covered in a foot of snow, with a bee buzzing at my feet like an obedient pet the whole way. Maybe these don’t sound that odd, but my strange bee moments have been frequent and always notable and make room for pause, like, ‘hey there little bee, what are you doing here?’ And now that I am knowingly quite allergic, I ask this with a bit more concern tucked into my wonder.
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So, yesterday (ah, the point to all of this!) Violet went to take a quick mid-day nap when all of a sudden I heard, “jeeeeeessseeeee!” in a sleepy-sweet and mildly alarmed tone. I went upstairs assuming I would be removing a spider or something and I walked in to our bedroom to find this not-so-little bee sleeping oh so soundly right in the middle of my pillow.
I went downstairs to get a jar to catch it and put it outside but when I got back upstairs the bee was gone. We both timidly looked for the bee for a while. I checked behind picture frames and drawers while Violet combed the bed. No bee.
What bothered me the most was how the bee got in the house – in our bedroom. No windows have been open in quite some time and we just couldn’t figure it out.
As soon as we gave up looking and I had already decided that I would sleep on the couch that night, there, two steps in front of me was the not-so-little bee, sitting as properly as the Seal does when she wants something, just staring at me. We caught it, put it out side and got on with our day.
It wasn’t until I went to bed last night that I started to wonder again, how in the world that bee got inside. And why was it on my pillow? All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with this fear that the bee on my pillow was a prelude or foreshadowing to something and I really scared myself. What if I had just lay my head on that bee sleeping on my pillow? What if there were more bees in the room, even just one more – and I fell asleep and was stung? Would it wake me up? Would I sleep right through? It was amazing really, to think, to all of a sudden realize, how fragile it all is. One little bee, me and a sting. Done. I think it eventually all felt too easy, too unbelievable that I exhausted myself and somehow fell asleep.
I woke up, obviously, and am just a little more aware of myself today than yesterday. Violet is almost annoyed with all of the kisses but happy to have come home to her favorite dinner and dessert, all home made. My grandma, my mom, my dad, my brother, an old friend and Ruth were all happy to hear from me, but curious.
No catch, just glad to be here.