What was that? I know I just felt something crawl across my shoulder!
I maniacally smacked at everything above my collarbone as I jumped to my feet from my patio chair, stifling the urge to let out the shriek that gurgled in my throat. I hoped that whatever it was had not base jumped into the depths of my shirt. I also hoped that the none of the neighbors saw me dancing like a zombie on bath salts.
It seemed to be gone so I sat back down to enjoy the warm summer night. There is something nostalgic and romantic about the Cicadas chirping under the moonlight as a soft breeze rustles the leaves of the mighty Oak that stands sentinel over my backyard. Summer was on the verge of morphing into Autumn, and it cast the world into a hazy heat that changed the color of the air and the scent of the earth. It spoke of the childhood campouts and teenage field parties of my youth. It was sticky and sweet. It was exactly how the season tastes just before it descends into the decay that precedes Winter.
I had heard the buzzing near the light that shines over my deck, casting its low yellow glow to just past the rails into the dog-worn grasses of our laughable lawn. It was fast and it was shaded in the silhouette of the incandescent ray emitting from behind it. Whatever it was, it was massive. If I had to guess, I would say it was approximately Mothman in size and that it sounded like the high-speed exhaust stream of a jet engine. I think it was also smoking a cigar and wearing a Fedora.
It zoomed past my head again, showing off its death-defying aeronautics as it teased me mercilessly by veering ever so close to my face. A couple of times, it misjudged and bounced off my person like a drunk in a mosh pit. The hits stung a little, adding injury to insult. I jumped up again and screamed, but just a little squeak was all I could allow. I didn't want the cops called on our house due to my entomophobia. This was my karma. It taunted me because I had giggled at our daughter earlier that day when she texted me from her high school orientation. She was freaking out because a wasp had become ensnared in her hair. I brought this outdoor torture on my self for not being more compassionate to her plight.
I wasn't really laughing at her though. Her situation reminded me of an ill-fated hay ride when I was a teenager back in the early nineties. Do you remember that decade? It was the pre-grunge years of the times so hair bands were still all the rage. Our tresses stood off our heads in mighty manes secured by Aquanet; silver can, please. Our bangs could withstand hurricane force winds but not torrential rain. We were fashionably flammable although we were easily incapacitated by far reaching tree limbs. Don't even get me started on the scratches and bug bites that we endured through the holes of our bad-ass, stonewashed jeans.
While bouncing through the early Fall fields of dried yellow cornstalks, we swayed jerkily as the tractor pulled the wagon across the furrowed rows. We were covered in itchy hay that threatened to permeate our weakened denim, the smaller, sharper pieces quickly finding a home beneath the tattered shreds that showed the rural community how rock and roll we were. Suddenly, my friend screamed. Her ear-piercing wails echoed across the lands in a mighty shrill emittance. She had a wasp stuck in her heavily-glazed bangs. Being the kind-hearted friend that I am, I fell off my perch, rolling on the floor of the wagon, to laugh maniacally at her. The absurdity overwhelmed me and I couldn't help myself. It was the funniest shit I had ever seen. Eventually, someone was able to free the poor wasp and my friend fumed with embarrassment. She survived but I will forever remember the moment that our hair became cages for flying insects.
You see? I wasn't really mocking my daughter. I was simply reliving a memory. I still find that shit hysterically funny. Probably not my best moment as a parent though. Definitely not my best moment as a friend. They both forgave me.
So yeah, my karma. My energy had come back to me exactly as I had put it into the universe. Karma isn't a god that rewards and punishes. It is your own energy. It is "what goes around, comes around." It is "watch what you do or it will bite you in the ass." It is of my own making and it is for me to learn from.
I was definitely learning to control my bad behavior that night. That fearsome flying bug was making sure of it. Once again it swooped dangerously close and this time, it became trapped in my hair. The whole neighborhood heard me as I ran pell-mell into the house, begging my husband to rescue me. My skin reddened as I furiously whacked at everything to make sure the offending creature was off me. My sweetie dutifully inspected me, a wry grin etching across his face as he did so. He found it a few minutes later in the kitchen. It had quickly lost interest in me in favor of the light over our dining table. It was a green beetle.
I felt so foolish once I saw it. I shouldn't have though. A lot of folks experience a chill when they feel an insect traipse across a part of their body, their tiny feet tickling the nerve endings that lie just beneath the surface of the skin. It's startling and the human mind is quick to assume the worst. We also learn fairly young that there are many that bite or sting. We never truly forget that level of pain.
Have you ever been stung by a wasp? It feels as if someone put their cigarette out on you. I was stung once, on the top of my foot, right on the bony protrusion above my arch. My cousin, who lived across the road, hurriedly ran over with a tube of toothpaste to soothe it, that wonderment of the medical world, minty fresh baking soda. He also offered to spit tobacco juice on it from the large wad that pooched his jaw out on the side. I graciously declined his incredibly sweet, but horrifically gross, offer. I couldn't wear shoes for a week. Maybe I should have at least tried tobacco infused spit.
A fear of bugs isn't all that unusual. A fear of beetles, maybe a little less so. As an omen, they could mean a wide variety of things from expanded consciousness and Clairvoyance to financial and family matters. I think they just mean I need to stay the hell inside and stop being an asshole.