If you read my earlier blog about the time I ran at work, you’ll know my middle name isn’t Grace. So sit back, relax, and follow along as I take you with me, back to a time way before the pharmacy; a time when I was forced to run for my life.
The path was pretty well cut out for us, there was always a danger of running into spiders or snakes though; we lived in the mountains. So we were ever vigilant to watch for these creatures. I was a lazy child and it took plenty of encouragement (or was it threats?) to get me to hike or move in gym class. Good luck with getting me to run, they’d need some incredible motivation to make that happen.
About halfway down this mountain we took a short break, just to catch our breath. I remember panting a little from the steep descent. Although I don’t like exercise, I do love nature. The sound of birds fluttering about and singing filled the air as the wind blew gently through the trees; it was such a peaceful moment, until the screaming started.
Confused I looked up to see one of the sweetest girls in our class, standing a good 3 feet away from me, screaming her lungs out. I thought maybe a spider had dropped on her or maybe she had seen a snake, until I saw something in her hair. I squinted to see what was crawling through her dark hair as more of them appeared. My heart climbed into my throat when I realized there were about ten to twenty yellow jackets crawling out of her long curly hair, she was screaming because some of them had gotten into her shirt and had begun stinging her. Apparently when she stopped, she stood right on their nest in the ground; which started an all out war. One in which we had no chances of winning.
A little background on myself, I’ve cleaned out snake pits, I’ve worked with spiders, and I’ll sit on my porch and watch three to four hundred pound black bear walk by. Put a bee within a mile of me and I’ll practically kill myself trying to get away.
I watched as these bees stormed out of this hole in the ground, as if it were the gateway to the pits of hell itself. Into the air they rose, dozens of them, tiny bringers of swift and painful punishment. They were bent on revenge and blood. Two girls rushed the one who was being stung and began slapping them off, while our teacher fought off the ones in her hair. These women have courage I’ll never have. But the bees kept pouring out of the ground in multitudes, the buzzing sound shot a since of doom into the air around us. The tiny wings of war made circles around us, I’m assuming to decide which of us had to go first.
The teacher finally shoved the girl away from the nest.
“Run!” She shouted.
Say no more. The woman had tried all year to find the proper motivation to get me to run and this was it. I can’t really remember ever moving that fast, most of it was a blur. I remember our coach telling us as we were hiking up to stay on the trail and take it slow and easy, there were several places where you could trip and twist an ankle, there was poison oak and snakes off the trail that we couldn’t see. None of that mattered now. I (along with my whole class) sprinted off of this trail, straight down the mountain. I dove into the bushes and trees, without a second thought of what could be in them. I was pushing through branches, storming down uncharted paths, and leaping from one trail to another below. I didn’t bother to look and see what was in front of me because I knew what was behind me.
I never broke stride. I could hear about ninety percent of the girls in class (most were behind me) screaming as if something were killing them. I learned later, they were being stung. I will say, I did not scream. I didn’t have the time or the energy; I was conserving all my strength for this long mad dash that was before me.
There was a girl that had gotten in front of me, several times she tried to stop and ask if there was a bee on her. I had no time for that. Keep moving honey, you’ll know if I see one. The most terrifying part of it was that, in the brief seconds that there wasn’t screaming, you could hear the bees. They were RIGHT BEHIND US.
When we finally hit the clearing, there was a small path that led to our football field. Of course around the field was our track, I can’t remember how many miles they said it was but it was more than I ever cared to run or walk. Once the girl’s shoes hit the pavement they stopped, they panted for breath as the rest of the class caught up. Not me, I kept running; I had no plans to be caught by a bee that day.
On a side note, there were only three girls that didn’t get stung on that hike. I was one of them.