In the small town parking lot, I was closing the car doors when I felt a sharp, piercing pain in my right hand. I looked at the center of it. The upper side of my palm was already red, and in the middle of it all, there was a small sac, a bunch of nerves and some muscles contracting at a fast rate, pumping the venom out of the sac into my hand.
I couldn’t stop looking at it.
It hurt but I admired the ingenuity of Nature more than I cared about the pain it sometimes causes. This little sac pumping venom into my body meant that a brave bee just sacrificed herself in an effort to protect the hive. I had no idea there was any hive anywhere near that parking lot, and I definitely had no intention of harming even a single bee in it, but this bee here, a brave bee-scout on the frontier of their hive-kingdom deemed me dangerous and decided to act on it.
It meant she must sacrifice her own life, as she won’t be able to survive without parts of her body that are now part of mine. Some would argue that the bee hadn’t made a conscious choice, that she only has her impulses to act upon, but I choose to see it differently.
That bee is a hero to me.
My arm is still swollen and it kept me up all night, but I admire that bee, as I admire anyone that chooses the lives of many over their own life. I admire her as much as I admire the biggest heroes our human race has made.
Once I realised that the bee will inevitably die as a direct result of her attack on me, I felt bad. I wished I picked some other parking lot or at least a different spot on this one. I wished my shopping lasted ten seconds longer. I wished I could explain to the bee that I mean no harm, to her or the hive she belonged to.
But, life doesn’t work that way. It enabled the bee to fulfil her destiny, just as much as it enabled me to be a part of it; to witness something that inspired me and made me appreciate this beautiful world we live in even more. Life pushed us both to that moment. We’ve met; we played our parts and we moved forward.
People will call me foolish or crazy, or just stupid, but I’ll still admire the small, brave bee. Hopefully, I will never stop seeing the world in that way; maybe I’ll even see more and more of it with every new day.
And if I need to be stung by a million bees to keep remembering how beautiful and brilliantly complex Life is, so be it.
Farewell to you, brave bee. And, thank you.