Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Sting of Vulnerability

The aforementioned yellow jacket nest is thriving. So it was a now or never day to arm myself and take care of the problem.

Towards the end of the summer when insects are trying to fortify themselves for winter, when there is a dearth of resources, they become more desperate. You may have sat outside with a plate of food on a nice, late August evening, and almost immediately, you were bombarded by yellow jackets trying to get at your ketchup.

Yellow jackets become a nuisance and threat to beehives, and since my hive had already taken a hit from the skunks, their numbers are low and I question their ability to defend their honey stores from their hungry counterparts.

Determined to defend the hive, I put on three pairs of pants, added a jacket, pulled on my thick rubber boots and headed for the yard. I added a beekeepers jacket, requisite hat and veil, along with thick leather gloves.

Maximum dressing had protected me before.

I stood in front of the hive with my weapon. Not even a second had passed before I was attacked. It's disconcerting to look down and see yellow jackets trying to get at my legs and thighs. I backed off. Swatted at the monsters. Stepped away. Waited. Returned. This time, I found the entrance to the nest and placed the racket in front of the nest. I could see them swarming, angry, ganging up on their threat. Again, I backed away and decided I'd had enough. Too spooky to have the wrath of yellow jacket hell come full force.

A distance from the hive, almost ready to unwrap the armor, I felt the hit. Right in the stomach. I'd left myself vulnerable! The thickness of three pants must have weighted them below my belly. I must not have pulled the jacket and the shirt completely down, or I had, but the thickness wasn't enough. A lone yellow jacket had found the chink in my armor.

For the past few hours, I've been chiding myself for missing the one vulnerable spot. That an insect so small, so cunning, could move about my body until it found the right spot-- is to feel vulnerable, outsmarted, and foolish.

Feelings I try to avoid.

Intentionally.

I stay out of dark alleys. Won't drive on icy roads. I avoid cruel people. I don't scale mountainsides with ropes or mountain bike down steep trails. I will never bungee jump, lecture my doctor on best practices, or go to Syria. At least right now. However, those are the extremes, and in some cases vulnerability is key to staying humble, aware, approachable. Circumstances of limited vulnerability are replete, so I choose to be vulnerable under safe conditions and every once in a while ~~a sting is inevitable.