Tag Archives: nature

Suicide Bee

15 Apr

I just got stung by a bee for the first time in my life, and I´m in shock. Not an anaphylactic shock, but a psychological one.

Because the thing is: I didn´t know bees did that. Sting, yes. When they feel threatened. But to go for an innocent person who´s just standing there, talking to someone? I thought that was a wasp-thing to do, not a bee-thing. I didn´t know bees could go all kamikaze on you when you were just minding your own business. I´ve always been a total hippie around bees, saving them from drowning or being trampled on, while humming a happy mantra like “save a bee, save the planet”.

And then this little guy comes and plants his butt in my arm. Unhooking it from my flesh, I thought: Oh, so this is what it´s like. The perpetrator lay there at my feet, wriggling in the sand. I squashed him under my shoe to end his suffering.


I feel like a unicorn just pooped on my doorstep.





Any Way The Wind Blows

14 Mar

When I was a high school student in Belgium, we were taught in French class that in France there was a type of wind called “mistral”. At that time, this made no sense to me at all. In Belgium, wind is wind.

But then I moved to Spain, to a village a stone´s throw away from the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the many new things I learned there, was a kind of knowledge I acquired in the most physical of ways. That air can be humid or dry. We don´t really notice that in Flanders´ Fields, but in Valencia: oh boy.

When the wind comes in from over the sea, saturating the air with humidity, it makes you freeze to death in winter, and drown in your own sweat in summer. They call this wind Levante, because it comes from the east, where the sun comes up (“levantarse” means “to get up” in Spanish).

The wind that comes from the west is called Ponente (“poner” means “to put down” in Spanish, so that refers to where the sun goes down -it´s really that simple) and brings along the dry heat from the plains of the Spanish midland. Very agreeable in winter, but when it comes along during the hot summer months, it feels like you´ve stuck your head into an oven.

This morning I went cycling, following a bike trail that runs through the orange fields (when I get a new memory card for my camera, I´ll post some pictures, I promise) to a village a few kilometers up north. The wind was coming from the north, so it blew straight in my face, making my cheeks glow. It´s called Tramontane, because it comes from over the mountains. It´s a dry, cold wind. And I loved it. As a matter of fact, I was quite surprised to notice just how much I loved this particular wind, and then it struck me: this was the wind from home. This was the wind I had grown up with. Cold and dry.

And the nicest part of it was that it actually came from home, from up north. And when I´d gotten to the end of the track and had turned around, it blew me straight back to my new home, pushing me gently but firmly in my back, as if to say: there you go, honey, there´s your new home now. But I´ll come and visit you from time to time.