May 23, 1996


I could hear all sorts of sounds: airplanes passing overhead; lawn maintenance engines; birds talking and singing; human speech, far off and indiscernible; a gentle breeze moving through and around tree leaves and then the sound of a bee, an insect, a threat, very close and I opened my eyes.

The bee, of unknown variety, was flying along the brick house wall behind me and has I watched, he would flying left a foot or so and then right a foot or so in the same vertical plane, about a six inches from the wall and as I watched, I really expected the bee to land on the wall and perhaps go into a hole where he had a nest, but he didn't. Instead, the bee hovered next to the wall, moving first left and then right and as I watched, I kept wondering why the bee was performing this act and then as I began to see with the bee's eyes, I realized that the bee wanted to go in the direction of the wall and that the wall was an obstruction, an obstacle in its path and being of a single purpose mind, the bee was determined to go through the wall.

Still the bee continued its movement left and right but never higher or lower and I could sense from the bee that it was confused. Why not try up or down to get around the obstruction, I thought? Had the bee learned from previous encounters with trees or bushes that it did no good to try either down or up? And why move only 6 inches or a foot to either side of the original flight path? Had the bee learned from encounters with trees, that "trees" where only a foot or so wide and thus he should find an edge, a way around, by moving only a foot or so in either direction?

And the bee did not turn and look to the left or right for an avenue, a way around the obstruction but then again, because the bee continued to fly only 6 inches or so from the wall, it was obvious to me that 6 inches was the limit of its vision detection capability and so the poor stubborn bee was doomed. He wanted to go so badly in a direction that was blocked that he was trapped, doomed, with no way out. He could not "see" a solution.

The bee continued to hover near the wall minute after minute, just moving back and forth and then after almost 5 minutes, the bee suddenly began to hover his way down the wall to his right and quickly came to a window and because the window was recessed, the bee moved in to again establishing his 6 inch vision but apparently, this bee had encountered windows before and he did not attempt a lunge at the clear space of the glass. Instead, he quickly moved on down the wall until he reached the junction of the brick wall with another house wall and apparently sensing that it was hopeless, suddenly changed flight paths and flew out into the yard, free at last of his obstruction and apparent his single mindedness.

And as I watched this determined bee, I wondered how many times I have been of a single purpose mind with limited vision? How many times I have encountered an obstacle to my flight path and stubbornly refused to look left or right or "move" up or down for a way around the obstruction? How many times, previous obstacle encounters and "learning" have colored my thoughts and limited my solution approaches? How many times, my determination to do a thing or go a place or complete a task has been frustrated by an obstacle that literally trapped me when all I had to do was reverse directions?

Funny how the universe can speak to you by way of a bee, if you will only listen.

I close my eyes.


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