Ponder this:

Friday, July 3, 2009


This week's Weekend Wordsmith suggests Sting as a topic.

Long long ago and thirty miles to the east I had finished mowing the back yard and had happily settled, with my book, my cigarettes and a beverage, in a chaise longue in the shade of the crabapple tree to enjoy the feeling of my sweat drying while I read. The crabapple was in bloom, so I did not remark upon the presence of the occasional bee humming by. After several minutes, it seemed that there was, in fact, a remarkable number of bees in the area.

I stopped reading and watched the bees. And saw that they were entering and exiting a very small hole in the ground a foot to the right of my seat. Fascinating. Quite a crowd, coming and going through an aperture no larger in circumference than, say, my cigarette.

I decided to undertake a scientific experiment. What would the result be if a blockage of the bee doorway were to occur? I looked at my cigarette butt, burned nearly to the filter. I looked at the beehole.

I placed the cigarette butt into the beehole. It slid into place perfectly, and completely obstructed the bees' passage, which circumstance seemed to confuse the insects. A traffic jam of stymied bees milled on their tiny feet in circles around their former doorway. Incoming bees, apparently seeing the multitude around the landing strip, began to circle, waiting for air traffic control to signal them in.

I felt sorry that I'd caused such consternation for the creatures and thought now that I'd seen the result of my experiment I would remove the cigarette butt. As the thought entered my mind, I realized that the bees were beginning to mutter and hum more and more loudly. They sounded like the background crowd noise in an old movie: Cauliflower, rutabaga, cauliflower, rutabaga, cauliflower, rutabaga. Each passing second increased the volume of their discontent's expression.

The correction of what I now saw to be an error in judgment became something of a conundrum for me: Should I reach down and pluck the errant butt out of the beehole or should I exit the site, leaving the butt in the hole?
I wanted to show the bees that I had meant no harm; it seemed only right that I should undo my offense. I reached down and pincered the butt between thumb and index finger.

Uh oh.

Now the bees knew from whence the blockage had come. Maybe they didn't know. Maybe they just didn't care.
They saw the butt. They saw the butt in my fingers. They saw my fingers interloping into their ruined dooryard.

Some of these tales that I tell, I share simply on the off chance that I might educate others so they might not do some stupid stuff that I have done.


Carolynn Anctil said...

I know it's not funny, but....lol over here...

George S Batty said...

love a good personal story. takes the sting out of a hard day. thanks

2cats said...

Oh dear. I can just see your predicament.
Well written story. Thanks

Joe Todd said...

Enjoyed the story. I used to take the top off of ant hills just to see all the ants scurry around. I would then come back in a couple days and the ant hill had been rebuilt. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Joe Todd

Joe Todd said...

I used your quote of the day in my 4th of July blogpost . Gave you credit and linked back to your blog

June said...

Thanks, Joe! I'll head on over and read you!

Susan said...

Oh June, I just love this story. My hubby got stung last week while weed eating and instead of calling it quits, he thinks "I'll show them" and went back to the same area and ended up dancing around the yard like a crazy thing getting stung several more times. We never learn. Have a great weekend!

June said...

Carolynn, it wasn't funny at the time . . . but it sure makes a good story, doesn't it?

Susan, clearly . . . your husband needed to hear my story before his bee-whacking incident. :-)

Michele said...

Ouch! I understand your inquisitive nature though. Great story... and I envy your writing abilities!!

June said...

Thanks, Michele.

Just a little note so you know why I don't comment on your blog...whenever I went to your blog, something whacked out my computer and I got thousands of Internet Explorer windows opening. I'm using Firefox now, but I'm afraid to go see you.

Mary said...

This is a good story and so brave of you to tell it!