My First Publication: "OVERCOMING FEAR"

For a decade of my life, I was a beekeeper's wife. And it was due to this that I went from aspiring writer to published author in the winter of 2006.


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It's because of my mom (you all remember 'her cuteness' from the wine trails) I'm able to provide this photo evidence of my first paid publication, since most of my life's belongings have perished in fires (one house fire, one garage and one storage shed fire) or been lost in the moving around we did for a time. But mom, she keeps everything, (including yearbooks and award certificates going back to elementary school). Thank you mama!


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I have to admit it was extremely exciting when I first saw my name in the list of contents. It was pretty cool to get a check in the mail for a couple hundred bucks too ;)


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OVERCOMING FEAR

You can eradicate the ignorance which ultimately leads to wrongful judgments, irrational fears and extreme prejudice.


I am a beekeeper's wife. I find these five words to be a continued source of amusement

You see, when I was little the presence of a single bee sent me into a fit of hysterics, which generally included frightened screams and flailing arms. Enjoying Summer picnics was nearly impossible as without fail a persistent yellow jacket would hang around looking for a taste of my chicken or a sip from my soda. I was a tomboy in many respects, without fear of the dark or snakes or spiders. But the bees- they were my mortal enemy. That would all change.

In the Spring of 2000, my (now) husband and I were completing our second year of college in upstate NY, when we received a call from his uncle who made us an offer that would change the direction of our lives forever. He had grown weary of cold weather and familiar faces, and longed to go South and stay there. He offered us a most unexpected opportunity- to buy him out of his beekeeping outfit at a price we just couldn't refuse.

After a great deal of discussion, consulting with my parents, and many prayers, we decided that self-employment, and beekeeping, was indeed desirable. My husband assured me that I wouldn't have to be around the stinging bugs myself, so hands were shaken, money exchanged, and voila, we were beekeepers.

About a month into that first Summer my husband finally talked me into taking a look at his freshly refurbished honey house, located in a room of a large barn. I figured I could just stand outside the front door and peer in, avoiding actual contact with the objects of my deep phobia.

When I entered the poorly lit barn I was feeling pretty good about the prospect of facing down my fear. Then he opened the door to his shop, and I felt my knees weaken when I saw what seemed like millions of bees flying to and fro, filling the place with their incessant, menacing buzzing. He tried to get me to enter, but my legs had filled with lead and my feet refused to move. I did begin to relax the longer I stood there and watched- until he pointed out that the bees were not confined to the room but were in fact flying all around me!

Panic rooted me to the floor as I imagined they could be entangled in my hair. My husband found it very funny when I stated this and explained that they had no interest in stinging. He told me they were lost bees, not defending a hive or their queen, just confused in their present dilemma. But I couldn't really hear him over the pounding in my chest and the voice yelling in my head to GET OUT NOW!

I slowly made my way back outdoors, and for some time I would come no closer.

I knew I was overreacting, and was amazed my husband could not only handle, but enjoy them. And as time went on I learned many facts about the tiny creatures who provided for us without complaint. My favorite being the dance they do to communicate the whereabouts of pollen and nectar sources.

They were a miniature community, each with their own jobs- nurse bees who cared for the larvae; drones who are responsible for mating with the queen to create more larvae; workers who bring in pollen, nectar, propolis and water; and of course the Queen who is mother to them all.

Whether my phobia began with a few stings as a child or some other way I couldn't say, but on reflection I can't deny that the sole reason for my fear was the idea of being stung. Because let's face it, it hurts. But as I watched my husband time and again do things like reaching into the middle of a swarm to search for the queen and remain unscathed, my fears began to wane. Bit by bit I found the more I learned and watched and understood, the less I feared.

Six years from the time of my first real exposure to these magnificent creatures, I am proud to say that I'm now able to stand in the honey shop with bees flying all around me. I can walk up to the hives to watch and even assist my husband, and screams and panicked running are a distant memory. I have not only learned to not fear them, but to respect and even like them.

Isn't it true to life that when you take the time to understand a thing, and you arm yourself with knowledge, you can eradicate the ignorance which ultimately leads to wrongful judgments, irrational fears and extreme prejudice?



Our adventures in beekeeping ended around 2010, the year of the 'disappearing disease'. They never did discover, or disclose the truth if it was discovered, what exactly happened to the bees during that time, but country wide, beekeepers went out to the their bee yards to find scores of empty hives. Eventually the bee population grew again, but by this time we were on a new adventure and living in Florida.

If you're interested in the topic of beekeeping or have questions, please let me know or leave them in the comment section. I have plenty more I can share about it (like the time we found a hive keeping an ant as a pet..) and would be happy to make another post!



Generously created for me by @son-of-satire

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