Escape

The first droplet fell so close to its body, it almost threw her off course. She had just taken off a yellow honeysuckle flower, after a long day of collecting pollen. She was used to working all day long, but what a day this was! It was the twenty-first trip she had taken to the flowers. She wasn’t tired yet, but it was time she went home.

She had been able to feel it in the air all day long: a terrible storm was coming. The air was extremely humid and she had found it quite difficult to fly. She had taken quite a risk with this last trip, as she knew that the rain was bound to start in any moment. She knew it, yet she couldn’t stop. She needed to gather more pollen and nectar. The larvae back at the hive were depending on the food she was bringing.

Another droplet fell. This time it had been dangerously close to her antennas. It was too late to go back to the hive now. She had to find cover. Another droplet fell, then another one and another one. They were huge and more and more were coming down quickly!

She could feel them splashing onto the flowers she had visited just a few moments before. She had heard of other honey bees that had their wings broken by heavy rain. That had been the end of them. She didn’t want that! She was expected at the hive, so she had to survive! She wanted to survive!

There was no time to waste! She had to find a place to take cover and she had to find it quickly! The honeysuckle was spreading proudly onto a wooden trellis which was already completely wet. She was lucky she had already flown away from there. There was no point in going backwards. The only option was to go forward, to her hive. Oh, how she wished she could make it back before nightfall!

Her pollen baskets were overfilled with pollen and her stomach was almost full of nectar, weighing her down. In an instant, flying had become a challenge. She had to use her entire determination just to keep herself on course and out of the rain.

The rain started to come down heavily and the honey bee was barely able to avoid the droplets, despite flying in a strange zigzag pattern.

Then, there it was! A shelter! It was slightly darker than she would have liked it to be, but she knew that it was her rescue! Oh! There were flowers there, too! She could smell the scent of pollen! Oh, delicious, delightful pollen!

She flew right towards it, avoiding droplet after droplet. Just before she got to it, she was hit! The drop splashed onto her rear, almost tumbling her over! She batted her wings harder and faster! The strain helped her restore her balance and was able to get to safety at the last moment. She turned around mid-air and looked at the water pouring heavily just a few inches away from her antennas. She had been lucky! That hit could have been fatal.

The honey bee turned and flew around, to reconnoitre, trying to get a feel of the place. It wasn’t that bad. The smell of the pollen was more attractive, awakening inside her gatherer instincts.

She rested on a roof beam of the garden gazebo. Her antennas were moving around like crazy. The flowers were below. She could smell the sweetness of the nectar and the enticing perfume of the pollen. She had to have some! The greed overtook her! Ignoring the downpour hitting rhythmically the structure above her, she soared towards the target of her desire.

She was able to see the flowers perfectly clear. The nectar and the pollen were waiting for her! She had to have them! Just a few… more… inches to go! Alas! A pale of wind blew her off course unexpectedly! She tumbled and rolled and turned and for a brief moment she thought she would stop, but then she rolled one last time and the tips of her wings got into a small puddle. Ah, how annoying! She desperately wanted to harvest a bit more pollen!

She got up and batted her wings nervously to rid them of the water. She was on a quest now! She took off and after circling for a few moments, she realised that it hadn’t been a pale of wind what knocked her off! It had been a draught of air made by a human! There were five of them around the flowers she was after. She found it curious that she didn’t notice them before, but yet again, she just wanted to get the pollen and the nectar. Nothing else mattered.

She had to be careful if she wanted to eat the fragrant nectar. She flew around and again, another pale of wind came her way. She dodged it this time and cautiously flew above the flowers. Right as another threat was coming her way she dived straight into the bouquet, as deep as she could! The fresh aroma of pollen was maddening! They were her favourite: peonies!

She put aside all precautions and started harvesting. She flew from flower to flower, just to have a quick taste. There was plenty of time, as the rain was still pouring heavily. Then, she took her time. Flower after flower after flower – she visited them all! It was true happiness!

Soon, the sound of rain decreased and turned into silence. A sunray hit the peonies in the vase, making the honey bee aware that she can leave soon.

She was ready to head out. She took one more sip of nectar and flew away, avoiding at the last moment a droplet falling from the gazebo’s roof into a small puddle. Her small silhouette reflection turned into ripples.

The storm had passed and the honey bee headed back to the hive.

She was expected.

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