Flight advice from a bee

Sometimes travel-like perspective and experiences find us before we are even dressed. This was the smallest of today’s lessons for me as I came back from checking my mail.

Tip-toeing back to my apartment while listening to the patter of the rain, at my feet I found what appeared to be a bee graveyard of sorts. Some smashed into flat rounded dots by neighbors’ treads, others still carcasses. Then I saw one moving.

For whatever reason (maybe it’s their slow disappearance), I was drawn to the straining dot of black and yellow. I picked him up and observed him. From his mouth, a long wisp slid out and slinked back in repeatedly. He thirsted for something and it wouldn’t be water with the rain on his wet, weak body.

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I set him on the fabric of my shirt, brought him into my home, poured a dot of pure maple syrup onto a shallow plate and diluted it with water.

For a moment, I thought he was dead. I looked at him so carefully while trying to extract him from my shirt that I could see the grid of the fabric, one thread woven beneath the other. A tiny hook of one single insect leg grasped a tiny strand as if it was all he had left in him.

I whispered some encouragement and as if he understood, he released the grip from my shirt. The wisp slid out of his mouth and then slid in as he drank from the small puddle on the plate.

From a lying position, he eventually pushed himself up. He started to wash his face. I offered him my palm. He took it long enough to dry. And then he slept. That’s right! Turns out some bees sleep. I Googled it.

So get this: A bee decided I was a good place to take a nap! Not a threatening subject to sting, but a safe place to rest his body after some trauma. How freaking awesome is that?

He awoke full of far more energy than I had anticipated. Suddenly there was a heavy and aggressive tread on my palm, darting from one hand to the next. Wings flapped so that I could hear and feel that intimidating buzz we come to fear after our first sting. When his buzz became more deliberate, I took him outside. It was time to fly.

As if I were a flight coach, he “hopped” from one palm to another getting the hang of his wings. A few tries later, the full surface of landing space on my palm narrowed to my fingertips. And soon my fingertips became only launch pads to the floor.

In one final flight from the airport that was my pointer finger, he flew out of my sight.

This may be one of the coolest experiences of my life and I find it so amusing that it should happen right here at home when I, like the bee, am grounded and “struggling.”

Today the rescued bee served as a teacher. I sometimes wrestle with the idea of having a network of travel blogging friends. I feel strange relying on others’ material for inspiration and support—as if I should just be some original expert in a day.

My bee friend showed me that at times what we need more than anything is to rely on the compassion of others and their willingness to help and share.

I was also reminded of how nice it feels to be a launch pad–that source of inspiration and encouragement for someone.

That’s what this blog is about in its beginning phases. I want to document the work it takes and my development step-by-step. I want people looking to start a travel blog to one day visit this one and see not only a successful full-time travel blogger’s tried-and-true format, but what she was doing when she wasn’t there yet, and exactly how she made it.

More than anything I was reminded by my buzzing buddy of the importance of “practice flights” and starting local. He didn’t give up when he didn’t make it past my palm. He kept going just a little farther each time. It’s as if he was a little messenger, reminding me, “Test your gear. Test your wits. Test your abilities. Then soar.”

It’s a step-by-step process. I’ll get there. But for now, it’s time to get here!

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