So there we were, Jason my husband and I, out amongst what seemed like a jungle on the side of the Maury River, in Natural Bridge, Virginia. The day had started out beautifully, sun shining and kids at Grandma's, we decided to take a fishing trip for a few hours. Well, the beautiful day was a washout, we spent 3 hours out on the banks and never caught anything but some nettles. (Nettles are pretty little plants that when your bare skin brushes against them they prick you in about a hundred different places emitting an awful stinging sensation for hours.)
Jason, whom never gives up, continued to fish even though there were no fish to be seen for miles. I meandered around brush, rocks, sand, and nettles trying to get a few good photo's of the wild flowers. Out in the distance I saw a beautiful little bush with some purple daisy like flowers on it. That would make a beautiful shot, I thought to myself. Onward I walked, all the while keeping the flowers in sight until i heard something. I stopped. That sound coming from somewhere in front of me was quite loud. What was it? Kind of a buzzing sound. Then I saw it. My heart skipped a beat and then started racing 10 miles a minute. It was the biggest hornet I'd ever seen. As long as my pinky finger, yellow and orange, with a bright red head, it looked mean. It was hovering not 3 feet in front of me next to a very large tree. I didn't move. I thought maybe it hadn't seen or heard me. If I just stood still for a moment it would go on it's merry way. I guess it just wasn't my lucky day. It turned in mid air as if reading my thoughts. Closer and closer the hornet came until there I was staring directly into thousands of beady little eyes which seemed to be growing larger by the second. Suddenly cracking twigs and shifted brush sounded from ahead. Oh, it had to be Jason coming back to me. I caught sight of him just as he rounded a tree by the river. With my voice very shaky I called out, "Jason, (pause) there's (pause) a very (pause) large (pause) hornet (pause) over here!" With the last few words coming out quite shrilly, he knew something was happening, but having not heard me well he didn't seem to understand what. "Large Hornet", I repeated more clearly. And then, it happened. The birds stopped singing, the frogs stopped hopping, Jason's footsteps were drowned out with the looming silence. I no longer heard the horrific sound of buzzing. Most would believe this to be a blessing, however my thoughts trailed ahead to, "Where was the hornet now?" Jason still hadn't reached me when I felt it. An eerie sensation crawled up my spine as 4 little hornet legs crawled up my arm. I stood motionless, the sleeve of my shirt covered the sight of the bees path. "Oh God he's up my sleeve", I cried out all most in tears. Jason panting from the excitement finally got close enough to ask me what he should do. I told him to take my camera from my right hand. As he did that, the hornet had reached the inside of my elbow. My mind was panicking but my body was still. All I kept thinking was "He's gonna sting me any minute, and after that he's gonna sting me again and again and again." With camera discarded, Jason gently tugged on my right sleeve. With it loose from my arm I took over and literally peeled the sleeve off my left arm where the bee was. The change in surroundings confused the hornet and up it flew, between Jason and I. It moved toward Jason as if to attack, so I did the only thing I could think of. I flung the shirt I had been wearing at it. With that gesture the hornet decided to leave quite abruptly. Minutes passed that seemed like only moments. With our voices shaking we both started talking at once relaying what had just happened. If Jason hadn't been there, I would not have walked away as well as I did. I reached down to pick up my camera and realized the record button had been on the whole time. Each time I watch that short 3 minute clip I shudder. And would you believe while we were leaving I had the pleasure of a writing spider crawling down the back of my neck! Ahhhh! That's enough nature for one day!