Storms and Stings

silhouette photography of boat on water during sunset
Photo by Johannes Plenio on

Ah, summer in the south….

I sat down at my desk this afternoon with a mind to write about summer things – flowers, green grass, blue skies. A quote from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass would have likely insinuated itself somewhere on the page or at the very least, a mention of Dylan’s “The Force that Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower”.  A lovely picture of a summer flower meadow had already been selected to top the post.  My fingers were hoovering just above the keyboard when Mother Nature loudly declared that she had other thoughts with a loud and unexpected crack of thunder.

Before I could catch my breath again, the wind began to rage and a hard rain to fall.  Fearing that several light-weight flower pots would be blown from their perches on the patio rail, I grabbed my raincoat and ran out to move them to a more sheltered spot. As I did so, one of the other neighborhood residents decided it was a perfect time to introduce themselves by stinging my hand repeatedly.  Who can blame a yellow-jacket for being displeased when they’ve just been pinched against the lip of a pot by some careless human hand? After all, he was just sheltering from the storm and minding his own business when a rude neighbor tried to crush him to death. You’d be angry too.

On a happy note, the yellow-jacket was able to fly away after expressing his displeasure a half dozen times (a bit of trivia: wasps retain their stingers, unlike bees, so they can sting you as many times as their little hearts desire. Bless them.).  I didn’t fare as well. By the time I turned to go back inside, my hand was smarting and I was soaked from head to toe.  Such is the stuff of life – we set out with sunny aspirations to find our selves in the middle of some unexpected unpleasantness.  Storms rage and wasps sting because that is the nature of things. Being caught unawares by either one is not a pleasant experience under the best of circumstances.

There are lessons that could be learned from this experience.  1).  Don’t keep easily toppled plants on a high wooden rail in the first place.  2). Zip up your raincoat before going out if the wind is driving the rain sideways. If you aren’t going to zip it, you might as well wrap yourself in a wet, flapping tarp before heading out.  3). Do not shake hands with any creature who has a dagger-sharp, venomous business end.  4).  If you accidentally do, immediately take off all rings no matter what other impulses you may have.  Don’t cuss, don’t flail, just get the rings off.  You can scream and writhe later.  5). Memorize basic first aid techniques so that you aren’t trying to do a Google search as your fingers swell around a stuck ring and your eyes are half-blind with tears.  6).  Find a speech-to-text app so that you don’t have to type one-handed while blogging about the experience.

The lesson could have been any one of those things. Or perhaps the universe was simply telling  me that I need to pay attention to what’s happening around me, so that I can avoid such train wrecks in the future. Could the universe possibly send such an obvious and easy to understand message? I seriously doubt it.


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  1. Author’s Note: With the exception of slightly swollen fingers, I survived the incident just fine. My ability to laugh at myself remains completely intact and unscathed.

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