Friday, August 2, 2013
The Bees Knees
When my friend Brian mentioned that he had taken up Beekeeping as a hobby, I seriously considered running away like a little girl and taking cover under my desk. (In case one of his bees hitch-hiked into the office in Brian's lunch box. Or Blackberry.)
You never know.
Then I thought about Nik Wallenda, and how he crossed the gorge over Niagara Falls on a tight-rope wire, facing death with each step he took. He was so stinkin’ brave. Why do I have to be such a wimp?
I inhaled deeply, then breathed out slowly, like a seasoned yogi. I asked Brian to tell me about his bees. He told me about the bee class he'd taken, about purchasing his bees and equipment, introducing the bees to the hives, and how fascinating his bees are to watch. "And they are very well behaved," he added.
I raised an eyebrow. Well behaved bees?
Then I remembered the time I was stung by a bee while driving. I had stuck my left arm out the window (don’t ask), and it hit a bee. Or perhaps the bee had flown into my arm. Either way, that bee was not well behaved.
“Have you been stung?” I asked suspiciously.
I thought about other brave souls. Like Evil Kneivel. And Bruce Willis in Die Hard.
I wanted to be brave like them.
I gulped and I said in a shaky voice, “Can I come see your bees?” I added, "I think it might make a good blog."
We set up a visit a few weeks out. I needed the time to mentally prepare. And work on my bravery.
I must admit I was a bit unnerved when Brian told me to wear long pants and socks. He said I would have to tuck my pants into my socks. (“That way the bees won’t crawl up your pants leg.”) Oh boy.
When I got to Brian's house he helped me into my bee suit. I looked like (Driving) Miss Daisy wearing an astronaut uniform. Adorable.
The bee suit completely protected me from misbehaving bees.
And as backup, Brian pulled out his secret weapon: a smoker. Apparently you just puff some smoke at unruly bees and they become docile, which made me wonder. Would that work on teenagers?
And just like Nik, I faced my fears and walked down Brian's long back yard to meet his bees.
At first I stayed back as Brian lifted the individual frames out of the hive.
They were crawling with bees.
But they were well behaved bees.
And from the safety of my Miss Daisy astronaut bee suit, I completely forgot about the fact that they could make me cry. I actually got quite close to them.
Then the spirit of Nik Wallenda entered my soul and I became even braver.
Who's afraid of these damn well behaved bees? Not me!
In fact,who needs a bee suit? Not me!
I decided to take off all my clothes and tend to the bees naked.
That's when Brian shot me with his smoker and made me docile.
But I learned something about myself on my beekeeping field trip. I am braver than I thought.
In fact, I can't wait to start working on my bee beard.