There is a branch and on the end of the branch is a hornet’s nest.
If left alone, me and the hornets get along just fine.
An unspoken truce.
It is simple really, don’t grab the branch and shake it.
That’s all I have to do.
Just avoid any temptation to hold that branch and shake it.
But, the catch is, that I can’t always see where the branch that holds the hornet’s nest is.
I am standing on the ground looking up at all my friends climbing in the tree and they are all calling out to me to join them.
Climbing in the tree is lots of fun, standing on the ground and looking up is very lonely…
So, I climb in the tree.
Mostly that goes just swell.
But occasionally I unwittingly step on the branch that holds the hornet’s nest and I make the hornets very angry.
And I’ve got to be very careful, even though I’m being stung, I’ve got to be very careful not to make a sound, not to let anyone else see the hornets.
Because if they escape and go beyond me I’m scared of what they will do to the people I love.
So, I sit quietly holding the pain of every sting so that the people I care about don’t have to.
But, it doesn’t work. They see my fiery silence and it makes no sense and they get hurt anyhow. Or, occasionally a hornet escapes and someone gets stung and I can see it happening but am unable to stop it.
I wish it were a bee hive, because then at least there would be honey for us all. But there is no honey in the hornet’s nest. Just angry hornets who have no right to be in the tree but are there anyhow.
Who put them there? Why do they stay? How do I get rid of them?
If someone tries to attack me I know that I can shake the branch and contain the hornets and my angry silence warns them not to attack anymore…and if they do I can let the hornet’s loose and keep my attacker at bay so I don’t get hurt. I still get a lot of hornet’s stings, but it’s better than the chaos and pain of the attack.
The hornets have been there to keep me safe…that has been their job, and they have done a fine job too, because here I am, but I don’t like it anymore. It doesn’t feel safe to have this hornet’s nest hidden in my friendship tree.
I suppose the only thing to do is to pick a calm day when not too many people are around and find the nest’s hiding spots and quietly ask them to leave…or at least get them to ask me first if I want their help before they come out and start their attack.
But am I ready for this? Am I really up for it?
I don’t know. I really don’t know.
I’m going to have to be really brave...because I think quietly asking them to leave is better than the alternative.
I think it’s time to do the dance of the hornet’s.
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I’m performing a reading of selected Dear Self letters in the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Dear Self – Friendship. September 16th/23rd/30th (click the link, click the link...)