What was I thinking?

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Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

Here I am, moments after being stung by an enraged honeybee, outfitted in a hat with veil that probably would've prevented that sharp pain in my forehead. I was visiting Jim Bobb at his hives at Morris Arboretum, lovely setting, and Jim was explaining that honeybees really are benign. They don't sting without provocation, and unlike yellow jackets, they sting once and fall over dead. (So there's some comfort.) I was instructed to stand very still, let the honeybees explore and under no circumstances, swat. So I quietly took notes as he spoke, trying not to move or communicate my discomfort to the bees, thousands of them in these 24 hives. But quite a few of them were curious, and alighted on my pants, my arms, shoulders, head, even my hand as I wrote. Still, I didn't flinch. Then one intrepid honeybee got into my hair and couldn't get out. I swear, I was only trying to help him navigate an exit, but before I knew it, the air was filled with an urgent buzzing, I was swatting and running and zap! I got it right in the head. Been a long time since I was stung by anything, so it was a bit of a surprise to note how much it hurt. Jim immediately swiped the stinger with his "hive tool," and supposedly I would feel no more pain. Actually, it hurt for awhile. P.S. I still love honeybees. P.S. #2 Read all about my misadventures at Morris this Friday, in Home & Design.

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