Big beauty, little biter
So small a creature, it was kind of laughable. But damn, that bite did sting. Or was it that sting that bit? With this particular little bullet of an angry bee, I wasn’t sure.
My brother and I, far-from-fresh after a few days on the Lycian Way, had hitch-hiked across Turkey, headed to Demre to see the ancient hill-tombs of Myra. Our third ride heard our destination and paused, dubiously.
“Is Demre not nice?” I asked him.
“No no, Demre is nice. Demre is okay. But nearby is something better. You should go Kekova. My wife and I, this is where we go for our vacation.” He was considering something. Looked at his watch. “I am already a little late, but it is not too far, I can drive you there.”
This is the hospitality of the Turks. To pick up a pair of sun-singed hitch-hikers, carry them across a chunk of his country, and then make himself even later to get them quickly to a place with no timetable. I deeply love Turkey. I wish I could sort the Islamophobic masses of America into people who just haven’t gotten to see the truth, and the genuine jackasses. The latter are on their own, but the former should all wander around Turkey for a week or a year.
We eventually convinced our friend that we could flag down another ride, if he would show us which road. He pulled over across from it and flagged down a van to make sure we got there. We waved goodbye to another in the chain of wonderful Turkish people we’d met, and squished in with a family of even more.
They dropped us off in Çevreli, a town too adorable for quotidian orthography. We walked past greenhouses of tomatoes for tomorrow’s kahvalti, stone houses built by inhabitants’ ancestors, and these two giggling lads. Up the hill we paused, shocked by the beauty of this planet we were serendipitously born on, and enjoyed the breath of the wind.
Until the wind attacked. A piece of the airy realm, curiosity congealed into belligerence, wedged itself in my brother’s hair. Finally flung free, it rested a mere moment on my finger, long enough to sting or bite or maul. Slapped down again, he wouldn’t give up until crushed beneath a well-hiked heel.
“You should probably rinse your finger, in case it put some of that threat-marking scent on you.” My brother remembered farmland lessons of bee’s ability to induce the aggression of their peers with pheromone markers. I rinsed my hand, rubbing well, careful on the spot that was already beginning to swell.
Not enough. The next bee attacked about five steps later. And so began an awkward, incredulous, this-is-ridiculous-but-kinda-freaky-anyway intermittent run/trot across the Turkish landscape. We reckoned we’d escaped them, then came around the corner to see the next batch of fields. Rows and rows of bee hives.