I’ve been afraid of bees my entire life.
I think I inherited this fear from my mom, who upon seeing any variety of stinging insect would RUN, literally, run away. I think this is the only running I ever witnessed my mom doing.
Like an obedient offspring, I have to fight the urge to run when I see a bee coming. When I moved into Matt’s house, I had to make peace with the bees that our dear friend Camie was keeping in the back yard.
I’ve been relatively comfortable with the them, but only from a distance. I stare at them from the kitchen window, rarely going into the backyard. Every once in a while, I entertain getting over this fear by doing something a bit risky. Like last week, I watched (and didn’t run away) when Camie went into their hive to retrieve some honey.
When she returned, honeycomb in hand, she said, “They weren’t happy about this.”
And then, a week later, they swarmed.
Several people were in the back yard doing construction, when a loud hum like an airplane motor filled the space. They all looked up, and the bees, all 40,000 of them, had risen up in a plume of smoke and hovered over the yard. In perfect formation, they migrated, united in their escape, and moved into the tree in our neighbor’s yard.
Whoa. It was a very X-Files moment.
When we told our neighbor that there was a beehive in his backyard, he said, “No problem, it’s fine.” Then Camie explained, “No, you don’t understand. There are 40,000 bees in your backyard.”
“Oh,” he said, “Should I be worried about that?”
Yesterday, the bee club dude arrived for the big rescue. He and Cam, all suited up like crazy astronauts, whacked the branch of the tree where they settled, and in one big THUNK, the entire hive landed in the cardboard box they held below it.
They duct taped it closed, poked holes in the top, and just like that, it was over. The bees were gone.
I’ve been trying to figure out what inspired them to leave, why they chose that particular moment to flee. Had they been planning it for a long time? Did they hate their queen? Were they peeved that their honey was stolen? Were they just ready?
It made me think of my dear friend who has been living in Brazil for more than five years now. She emailed me this morning and told me she’s ready to leave. She had been planning to move back to California, but it just hit her today, suddenly, that it’s time.
Has it ever just hit you, like a swarm of bees, that it was time to go?