Sunday morning's First Unity service included an anecdote from Reverend Temple Hayes recent trip to Mexico in which she told us of her walks on the beach, where she was reminded that she'd travelled over a thousand miles to do what we can do here in the Tampa Bay area every day, should we so desire.
"But that's another story," she said.
She continued to explain her encounter with a bee trapped in mud at the water's edge. She'd carefully scooped up the bee, and watched in wonder as it washed the mud off its thorax and face with tiny forelegs.
"Twice a day, searching for stranded bees became my calling," she said. "I carried an entire arsenal of bee saving tools, pieces of wood, feathers, and such, to fish bees out of the surf."
I chuckled internally because her story reminded of a time long ago, (well… to be precise, eleven years ago) when I'd had my own encounter with a bee. My husband of beloved memory and I had built a bathhouse out on the far end of our patio. Of course the initial plan had been to erect a tiki bar with a palm frond roof and telephone pole uprights, but those plans had exploded into an 18" deep hurricane proof foundation laid by a Russian immigrant, atop which perched a bathhouse with a full bar and a porch that ran the entire length of the building. Most of the construction work was done by our cranky and highly opinionated contractor. We opted to do the finish work ourselves, to get him gone that much sooner.
My job was to paint. Now, picture if you will, this building, with the front porch approximately three feet away from the deep end of the pool. Picture a middle aged woman on a ladder perilously close to said deep end, painting the trim, and now envision a bee buzzing around the head of aforementioned woman.
That was my bee; or that which came to be thought of as "my" bee.
My bee was, I presume, attracted to the smell of the paint. S/he was flying around my head, buzzing, as bees are wont to do. Now, I like bees just fine. I've adopted a 'live and let live' approach to most creatures, as long as we are not talking about when they make the mistake of moving into my house; just ask the rats and mice what might happen…. Well, you can't do that, now can you. I didn't, however, relish the idea of getting stung by a bee and falling from a seven foot ladder into the -not deep enough for a diving board- swimming pool.
In a moment of very un-Zenlike judgment and lack of consideration for Dharma , I swung the paintbrush through the air, creating an air current that knocked my bee into the drink. Immediately I regretted my actions. I got down from the ladder, rushed to the swim-out and, using a clean paint stirrer, fished my bee out; gently rolling him/her onto the pool deck. Like Reverend Hayes, I watched with rapt attention and fascination as my bee's tiny sides heaved with the effort of swimming. I began to think I'd set up some really good Karma.
It struck me that the chlorinated water might be bad for my bee. I worried while I waited for my bee to dry and fly away. It was at that moment, when I was feeling all good about how I'd saved a life; that the lizard rushed out of the bushes, and ate my bee.