Saturday, March 20, 2010

Apiary Anxiety

I've gotten several emails asking if I'm scared yet or stung yet, or done with this craziness yet.
In response:

I haven't ever been scared of bees. I remember thinking they were annoying when I was a kid, but I also remember thinking the idiots who would screech and yelp if they even thought about a bee near them were annoying too. I don't think Mr. Holt is scared of bees either- he's not scared of anything really - but one reason I love him so is his ability to maintain a healthy skepticism while I get all carried away with new projects. Before we actually met our bees, he quietly took stock of the situation and sized up the potential risks we might be hazarding. On the day we became beekeepers, he had all the precautionary measures under control. 9-1-1 ready cell phone, benadryll, and long sleeved shirts for both of us. When we arrived at the bee-yard, he insisted I wear the giant haz-mat bee suit and tuck my hands inside while he maintained a safe distance from the occupied hives, and asked a lot of questions.

Myself, I vacillated between bursting with curiosity, excitement, and a sensation that I'm pretty unfamiliar with. I would say it was fear, but I wasn't really scared. I knew Mr. Holt had the situation under control, and Dr. Drone would warn us if something was actually dangerous. I think it was more the experience of having no idea of what to expect next. It rather upends one to be utterly without precedent, especially one like me who is normally the bossy know-it-all in any situation. So nervous, maybe. My heart was beating very fast when the bees were dumped into the hive for sure. I really half expected them to rise up as a cloud of fury and head for my haz-mat protected face.

But each minute we spent there made me more bold, and made Mr. Holt more relaxed, until very quickly the protective suit was off, and we were both nose deep inside the open hive, asking questions and cracking jokes. None of us were stung; I was landed on a few times, but I just blew the little bees off. They kind of tickle when they walk on you. It's the fuzzy legs I suppose.

We not only survived the day, we enjoyed the day. Unscathed and, I think I can say, ready for more.

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