E - ESCAPE... the worst death you've imagined!
S - STOP! ...Wait! Is running the wrong choice?!
P - PANIC and PRAY!
E - Exhale
C - Control my pounding heart!
T - Thanks giving for being spared the worst death I could imagine.
That's what it means to me, today anyway.
It's easy to forget that in this beautiful desert I enjoy so much, there lurks some true danger. Today I had a brief brush with a threatening situation.
I decided I wanted to get my exercise in, even though it was no longer morning, when I usually hit the trails. It was nearly 1pm, but there was such a nice cool breeze today, I didn't mind. I headed to the open desert and took the long, mostly level loop and decided to jog to get my heart rate up, sweat and burn some calories! (Mellow Mushroom pizza and fiery margaritas from the night before must be dealt with!) About halfway around the loop, I stopped for a sip of water... of course I had my camera in my little pack and there just happened to be some fresh golden blooms on the cholla, so I snapped some photos. After a few more photos and walking a minute more, I put the camera away and started to jog again, I was just making the turn toward the south when I noticed the view to the west, toward the distant Estrella mountain range, was particularly pretty today. Scattered clouds, saguaro, orange-red blossoming ocotillo and hazy atmosphere... I stopped and considered getting the camera back out...nah! I'll just take it in with my eyes for a moment.
That's when I noticed a low humming sound coming directly toward me from the west... it sounded like a well running motor of some kind, immediately I realized there are no roads in that direction for many miles...wha? OH, it could be a swarm of BEES!!! (This here is prime Africanized or 'killer' bee territory, by the way!) This thought process took all of two seconds, the sound was growing considerably louder and I could just make out a low fuzzy blob flying toward me at a good clip...definitely bees!! That's when the 'R' and 'E' clicked in and I began a few hurried steps, which is when the 'S' came to mind... wait, Africanized bees relentlessly ATTACK noisy moving objects! I stopped in my tracks with the bees yards away and coming fast... the 'P' happened here along with visions of my swollen, unrecognizable carcass being discovered on the trail. I watched the large hazy mass become individual, buzzing, bullet-sized ovals, zoom straight at me, then over me by about 5 to 10 feet, and past.... Thus quickly followed the 'C' and 'T'.
Have I mentioned I am freakishly afraid of bees and wasps? Now, an individual little honey bee, busy collecting pollen, I've learned to appreciate, but a bomber bee, whizzing around quickly, will sorely test my ability to control an urge to flail wildly, scream, run headlong into trees, walls, pools, people or whatever happens to be in the path of my frenzied freak-out spasm... I am able to control that impulse about half the time. Just ask my kids. I have confessed that I'd rather be in a room full of rattlesnakes than with one mad bee or wasp, and I mean it. I'm insane like that.
So today, by God's providence I escaped the death of my nightmares, as these swarming bees were too intent on keeping the Queen surrounded than with going after that odd jerking thing in turquoise shorts.
On relaying this tale to my husband tonight, he informed me you are ALWAYS supposed to run from swarming bees (note to self, discard 'S') ...well I'm pretty darn sure I would have if they had begun to descend on me...at least until they rendered me blind. Shudder! He did say they seldom attack when they are on the move like this. Phew. It was over a mile, through open desert, no shelter in sight, before I would have reached the safety of my car.
Now with that pretty picture in your mind, here are the pictures, taken a few minutes before, while I was oblivious to the brush with danger I was about to encounter.
|What a gorgeous day, 'la la la, la la'!|
|Shucks, that little bee buzzed off before I could snap his portrait!|
|The desert can be so tranquil and lovely...|
|Nice contrast with the cactus bones!|
|Good thing I wasn't wearing this color... wouldn't want that swarm to think 'hey look at the giant cactus flower! Let's check it out!!' ;)|