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Community Green: Lesson from a bee

By Pamela Noel

Special to Plumas News


Turning my head to the left, breathing quickly and deeply,  I kick, propelling myself down the lane.  I see the white beads of the lane rope, each time I turn my head.  Back and forth, I  feel the liquid satiny softness of the water.

On the 23rd length, something appeared different about the lane rope. Not stopping, I planned to look a little closer on my return, number 24. This time, I turned my head to the right in order to see what had occurred on the top of the rope.  A bee.  Sitting atop the rope he was beating his wings—trying to dry off enough to fly away.

Number 25…still there.  Number 26…still shaking the water from his wings.  I wondered if he felt fear…afraid that he would land in the pool again. I tried to conjure what it must feel like to be that bee…imagining inhabiting his body; how heavy wet wings would feel…wondering if life would end when an ambitious swimmer caused more water to splash over the lane rope.

I doubt, however, that bees are thinking ahead of consequences—of what might happen.  That seems to be a particular trait of humans—imagining what could go wrong or right.  As I continued my swim, gazing at where the bee was perched, I started to imagine all the things that could go wrong in my life.  What could put me precariously on my own life’s lane rope, with disaster just a splash away.

The more I thought about all the things that could go wrong, the more I had the additional thought,

“No, don’t waste energy thinking about catastrophes. Just feel yourself in the water.  Sense your muscles, propelling you from end to end. Keep counting the laps.  Kick and stroke, relaxing into the movement.  Lose yourself in the current you are creating.  Let go of the thoughts.  They are not helpful. “

I watch the bee.  Wondering if he was watching me, he continued his preening, seeming to do what needed to be done.  And I continued swimming, flirting with various catastrophic outcomes, not only for him, but for me, and all of humanity.  Again thinking, what a colossal waste of time this habit has become, the greatest problem of the moment was my own mind.

I often ask myself what function “worry” has in our lives.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that, it has no real function, other than propelling one to some sort of action, with which to avoid harmful outcomes or mitigate something that has already happened.  However, looking at possible outcomes without the “worry”, seems the more relaxed course of action.  We can act, without tying ourselves up in knots, without dragging the stress out of the imagined situation, allowing it to flow into our bodies.

And even when I realize the truth of this, I don’t always act on it, sometimes feeling like “worry” is in the driver’s seat, running the show.   This tends to happen when the diet of what I consume is more than I can digest comfortably.  So, I have a choice…continuing down this worry track, or watching what I choose to let in…media that’s a little more upbeat, talking to friends who are open hearted, doing something for someone in my life,  taking a peaceful walk in the woods, or finding a stream to sit beside, listening to its music.

We do have some control, even when it feels like there is none in the world around us.  And just maybe we can learn something from the bees, sitting on the lane ropes in our lives.  When the water weighs us down, we merely  take care of business of the moment, giving ourselves time to dry off, before we lift off for our next flight.

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