I grew up in a very old house in the country. We had three-ish acres of land, and my family left most of it wild. Trees, blackberry bushes, and tall grass all leading up to a creek.
I would run wild through the back for hours at a time. As long as I stayed within our property and didn’t go swimming on my own, my parents just let me go. My mom had this giant antique school bell, and when she rang, it was time to head back toward the house. It was a crazy amount of freedom.
One day while playing way out toward the back of the property, I stepped on a hive of ground bees. I don’t even know how many stings I got, only that my leg hurt like hell.
I did the only thing a child used to running wild would do. I ran over and stood barefoot in the creek. The water was always cool, and I’d soaked my legs to get rid of stinging nettles many times, so sound kid logic: the water should help with bee stings, too.
I stood in that water for ages. It helped, but the damn pain from the stings wouldn’t go away. My little ankles got all swollen and nasty. Finally, I heard my mom ringing the giant bell.
I wasn’t going to leave the creek. My feet still felt awful.
A few minutes passed, and she rang again. And again.
Finally, my mom came storming down from the house all the way to the back of the property, fuming that I’d refused to come in.
And she found me scowling at her from the middle of the creek, feet covered in bee stings. Pissed that her mother’s intuition hadn’t sent her running to find me an hour before.
After my feet felt better, the whole incident became a funny story.
But I was thinking about it the other day. What if I had been allergic to bees?
Ah the near death we escape so often during the magic of childhood.