Bee Stings, Bear Spray, Butterflies

I am not allergic to bee stings. I didn’t know this prior to this weekend, because I had never been stung by a bee before.


I was running, and the bee got caught in my hair. When I went over rocky terrain, my ponytail flipped from side-to-side and it swung behind my ear. The bee got stuck there, and stung me. I didn’t see it, but I could hear it buzzing. I think it sounded like it was scared, which I would be too if I got stuck in someone’s ponytail like that. So it stung me, and I’m a bit sad because I knew that meant it would die. I had my friends check out the spot that was stung, just in case I went into anaphylaxis, so I would know what I was allergic to (which is how we established that it was a bee despite me not seeing it).


As it turned out, I am not allergic. It was pretty exciting though, even if it hurt A LOT for a few minutes. Now I’ve established that I don’t have an allergy to bees and I don’t have to worry about them as much.


I also had to purchase bear spray for the run. That was a totally new experience too. I went to the outdoor sports section of a local hardware store. The fellow behind the counter was helping some other fellows purchase ammunition, so I totally eavesdropped on their conversation while I was waiting. I knew shooting stuff could be a hobby for people, but these guys were totally into it. Even to the extent of wearing full camouflage gear in the store (camouflage for outdoors, not for within the store). I don’t know if that made them more hard-core or a stereotype, but I thought it looked intense.


Anyways, I purchased bear spray. The fellow asked me what kind I wanted and I had absolutely no idea. He asked if I had ever used it before. Nope. He asked if I wanted to holster. Nope? He asked if I had planned to put it in my backpack and ask a bear to wait while I dug it out of my backpack to use it. I think he was joking, but I hadn’t really thought it out and I had actually planned to toss it in my backpack. So, yup. After that, he recognized that I had no idea what I was doing and helped me pick a type, get a holster and showed me how to use it as needed. I felt as intense as the guys in camo gear for purchasing bear spray. This was probably the most intense thing I’ve ever purchased. I felt pretty tough.


As I was informed, the goal with bear spray is to have it expire in the holster without ever taking it out. I think that sounds pretty good.


The run was out in the mountains not too far from my house. I met some really nice people at a running group a couple months ago and they invited me to join them on a trail run. I’m not usually a trail runner, but I really wanted to try it. It was fantastic. Sometimes I couldn’t even tell that there was a trail. There were creeks and rocks and fields. These people were amazing but it was so hard. I thought for the distance it would be no problem but it was so much harder with the hills and trying to balance with every step and the elevation. I loved it. I can see why trail runners love trail running so much.


There were butterflies EVERYWHERE. It was stunning. I’ve never seen so many butterflies. There were times I would run through a huge kaleidoscope of butterflies and they would fly up around me. It was definitely a new experience. It was beautiful, and powerful, and for those moments, I couldn’t see anything besides the butterflies. I was lost in a world of orange and yellow and movement. I would have felt like a Disney princess if I wasn’t carrying bear spray.


There is an ultra-marathon that is 50k later this year in the mountains not far from me. I am not registered for it, and I don’t intend to register for it this year. It looks amazing though. I’m already considering it for next year. It would take A LOT of training for me, and I don’t want to start too much thinking about distances that I’m not even close to. I should focus on the marathon later this year. I know I’m super bad for that, and my husband teases (nicely) me about it. I’m always looking for the next adventure, even when I have a few upcoming. I just can’t handle the idea of a space where I’m not doing something and I never want to miss the opportunity to register for a race, book a trip, join a retreat.


I don’t know if this is a result of having epilepsy, or if this existed prior. If it existed prior, that’s a long time my parents have been putting up with this, and I should probably apologize to them. I could see also how it would come as a result of the diagnosis of my medical condition too. The knowledge that there are so many things happening out in the world, and also that I don’t know if I may ever be limited from doing those things, I can’t even fathom not taking advantage of what I can do while I can. Maybe I’m not living in the moment. Maybe I’m not experiencing each day as an independent day. I think I am. Simply accepting that today is today and I should enjoy today on its own doesn’t give room for goal setting. Goal setting gives us something to look forward to. I can enjoy my weekend because on one day, I bought bear spray for the first time. One day I ran through a kaleidoscope of butterflies and was stung by a bee. All of this was because one day, in the loosely-planned future, I would like to run an ultra-marathon in the mountains. This is setting the stage, the foundation, the checklist, for that experience. Each experience can be appreciated on its own for what it added to each day but I do appreciate them independently. And in working towards my goal of completing an ultra-marathon, I am now prepared with bear spray and knowing I’m not allergic to bees. Check those off the list.

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