Wasps and hornets and bees, oh my!

22 08 2013

As a young child I was terrified by any sort of flying insect that could possibly sting me. If I saw a wasp or a bee or a hornet buzzing within 10 feet of my personal bubble, I would fly into a flailing terror, shrieking and running amok. My parents would roll their eyes and yet again, admonish me and tell me to just calm down already. I was stung once in the armpit and I vaguely recall screaming like a banshee and doing my best unintentional imitation of a lunatic on acid thrashing in a mosh pit.

These insects terrified me. They evoked a deep sense of panic I could never control.

Once, when I was a teenager, my mom and I were out in the backyard on a hot summer’s day. I was laying on a blanket, tanning. I was on my stomach and had my bikini top untied to tan my back sans lines. I was reading my book as my mom talked to our neighbour, when something buzzed around my head. I flicked my hair back and YOU GUYS…. whatever it was became trapped under my ponytail! I could hear it AND FEEL IT frantically buzzing around and right then and there, my panic knew no modesty. I jumped up screaming, waving my arms and running in mad circles, while my bikini top stayed on the blanket and my horrified neighbour did his best to look the other way. My mom was hysterics, laughing at my idiotic antics.

I tried to stay calm. I really did. My now-husband-then-boyfriend and I were visiting his parents one day. He knew all-too-well about my paranoia of all manner of buzzy/stingy/stripey insects by then. As I drove down the long sloping driveway to his parents’ house, a wasp flew in the car and obviously made it his personal vendetta to fuck with my head and hovered around the steering wheel, where my hands gripped in terror. Dan said calmly to me: “Stop the car. Don’t panic. Just open the door and get out.”

And so I did. I stopped the car. I opened the door. I got out of the car, relieved at avoiding being terrorized anymore. And there went my car, still in drive, down the driveway with Dan in the passenger seat, madly trying to get his legs over the console to the brake pedal before my little Ford Tempo smashed into the barn.

That’s when I knew I had a problem.

I have gotten remarkably better over the last couple of decades. I am now at the point where I can honestly say they don’t bother me. I’ve been to bee farms, I’ve knocked down wasp nests. I’ve been stung multiple times. Maybe it was motherhood. Maybe it was the realization that even if I’m stung, it isn’t that bad. Maybe the knowledge that these little critters are so very important to our ecosystems. Whatever it was, I’m definitely over my inane fear of insects. In fact, I’ve learned that I love bugs.

Except for millipedes. But let’s face…. Those assholes are just horrifying.


20 08 2013

The tinge of crisp coldness was brief today. We dove into the water of our beloved Queen’s Bay and we all felt slightly chilled as we made our way back to the beach. The sun did her job well though, warming us up and eventually convincing us of the need to have another swim. The water wasn’t necessarily cold but it was definitely  not as warm as it has been. Here in the waning days of August, it was another hot day, another treasure to hoard in my soul.

This fierce briefness of heat we all love and covet is coming to an end. It never fails to evoke a sense of deep melancholy within me: a sense of desolate loss. I feel as if I am wandering aimlessly looking for something I can’t define. I feel sad. This ache deep in my heart is as familiar to me as the passion I have for summer. When I strip down after a long hot day at the beach, I marvel at my tan lines. Now I begin to mourn as I know they will fade, like these hot glorious days. Yes, yes: we will still have hot days, warm days, sunny days. But the saturation of July is a completeness I need, the height of summer is such a dear thing I hold very close to my heart. I feel grief as I feel the slight change to the season. The sun slants more into my living room, whereas a month ago I never saw the beams upon my furniture. The air is cooler, making sleeping easier but drawing a tender sorrow from deep within me.

Gardens are overgrown and leggy. The Kokanee begin their red transformation. End of summer sales dot the streets. School supplies are bought. Birds no longer chirp at 3 AM. It wanes, this summertime. This magical and far too brief time of heat and water and fun and flip-flops. The trunk of my car has sported floaties and masks and coolers full of chips and ciders and cherries for a couple of months. It’s starting to smell a bit musty. August means epic canning days. August brings vast quantities of beans and plums and peaches and basil. August hangs on to lazy as long as it can, but still we know it is slipping from our fingers. The sun edges slowly away and we cannot do anything to stop its progress. It is heartbreaking, as always.

We grasp what we can, we wring every ounce of sun and heat and laughter and fun out of summer. These last few days of sunshine and heat before school and lunches and schedules start are more precious than diamonds. One last kick at the can, one last party, one final swim. We take and take until it is no longer given.

And then we move on.


8 08 2013

The heaviness in the air of the coming storm echoes the long-held glance, steeped in wanton depth, marinated in nuance. Deep breaths of subtle anticipation whisper as softly as the wind that starts to pick up, stirring the leaves as the breath stirs inward. There might be a spattering of rain, insistent upon foretelling the coming deluge. The trace of touch along the arm or shoulder rumbles like that distant thunder. It is quiet yet, this storm. But it is still on its way, the charged ions of skin and air, they mingle and fuse with breath, wind, black clouds, a deep kiss. Hair swept back by hands, touches traced down warm skin. A flash of lightening slams thunder down as clothing drops to the floor. The wind picks up now, swaying trees and blowing curtains. Gentle no more, it is fierce and urgent, the rain falls fast, the dewpoint reached, the clouds unable to keep back the heavy moisture. Hands on skin, grasping. Flashes of light capture each moment, gripping and wild, breath urgent with crashes of thunder shaking foundations of both house and bodies. Wild and heedless, the storm moves across mountains and valleys, caressing fields and rivers alike, cascading its dangerous nurturing power across everything in its path. Skin melds, breath mingles, desire is brought to the threshold. Sheets crumpled, wind fierce. As the thunder crashes and shakes with force, the edge of the precipice is beneath and rain and sound and touch culminate. It is urgent, this cumulus gathering of  energy. A final brilliant flash of light and the echoes of thunder rumble away, leaving the rain to fall gently on the earth below. The waning force of skin and storm fades softly, breathing slows,  while clouds drift away and moonlight shines on.