A few people contacted me about my first blog post with a common refrain, which went something along the lines of: “but you’re an animal lover, so it’s easy for you to show compassion toward invading bees. Not everyone can do that.” While I am an unabashed friend of the animals, in light of these comments I thought I should share an event in my background that I wasn’t going to mention. Here it is:
When I was a little girl of about 5 or 6, my family was vacationing one summer with relatives up in the Oregon countryside. It was a beautiful day, and I was happily running around bare-footed in the gardens. At one point, I trampled across the nest of some kind of ground-dwelling stinging creature (hornet? yellow jacket?) and they attacked my foot with a vengeance. It was shockingly painful and quite frightening as they chased me around while I screamed. My foot swelled to the size of a grapefruit and my whole body felt inflamed and disoriented. It was awful.
From that moment, I had a deep fear of any and all bees, including honey bees. When any kind of bee came anywhere near me, I’d panic, running around, flapping my hands and making small shrieking noises. It was embarrassing but I couldn’t stop myself.
Until I did. After 30 years of bee-related terror, I made peace with them. I still have a healthy respect for the yellow jacket variety, but I absolutely love honey bees and am happy to see them, very much enjoying their company. They have become a very significant animal in my life – a positive force.
I made that shift almost 10 years ago. I’m not going to go into how I went from there to here. The point of this post isn’t to delve into my process, as it may not be yours. I just want you to know that you CAN make that leap. You CAN release the terror or anger or whatever it is that clinches your insides up. You CAN throw your arms wide open to all that is around us. You can. And there’s always an opportunity to do so. My current opportunity: opening my heart to the neighbors that killed the bees. Now there’s some hard work.