This second week of March, 2022, marks two years since I moved out of the beach house my ex-husband and I shared on the Upper Texas coast.
The coming days will bring rain and cold. They have been sunny and beautiful all week. In the warmth and sun, the Alabama wetlands have released mosquitoes, tiny and quiet compared to the Gulf Coast marsh mosquitoes with which I am all too familiar. They are no less effectual, however. I never feel their nibbles, but my ankles and some fleshy parts are rather spotty now.
Along with those almost gnat-sized biters are the plump carpenter bees, zipping, hovering, ascending, and fighting all other flies, bees, and wasps. Sammy, who had mostly only watched until today, has since made several growling lunges at the male bee hovering a few inches from his nose. Thankfully the dog is at the end of his tether. Carpenter bees are not much of a threat; males have no stinger and females are fairly docile. However, I don’t wish to see my dog take out a harmless bee.
This bee’s game seems pointless from my vantage. Best guess is that he, hover-parked between me and the picnic table some fifteen feet away, is tirelessly defending the holes (the “gallery”) in the table seats drilled perhaps last year (they look old/dark but recognizably bee-made). He goes so far as to defend them from a Cloudless Sulphur flitting by. I have yet to see the missus.
Sammy requests air conditioning, so I let him inside Blanche and Sir Buzzalot vanishes. Apparently only the dog represents a threat in the moment. A few minutes later I test my theory and I stand and pace near the table. Sir B does indeed return to monitor me, as well, charging at my phone as I try to capture video.
Apart from the obvious, appearance and size, I am not unlike the carpenter bee. There are two things motivating me to exist right now: 1) obligation and 2) protecting my home. Perhaps that’s one thing; I’m not sure I can tease the two apart.
I am obligated, with regard to my survival, to certain people. Family, that is.
Sir Buzzalot is obligated to whatever female he has or will have and the offspring they will produce, but only in so much as he is obligated to the nest; the nest being critical to his future family.
I’ll leave Motivation Number One at that. I think most people understand the concept of staying alive for people we assume love us and would be hurt if we “left.”
Motivation Number Two: my nest. I spent money on her that would have gone to rent or other belongings. As such, she has value and I feel an obligation to stay and make use of her at least until I have nothing left.
I also feel I have an obligation to protect her. I have named her. She has been my shelter for several months already and has become more to me than a material possession or shelter. She is indicative of my attempt (perhaps ultimate failure) to recover from the last 40 years of my life.
More than that, I am emotionally attached to her. Blanche isn’t just a trailer any more than Sammy is just a dog. She is home. She is safety. She is comfort.
I can’t entirely qualify this attachment to this “thing.” In contrast, I like Betty (my truck). She is useful and comfortable and works well. I appreciate all Betty has done for me on the job and on this journey. Blanche, however, is something else. It may be as simple as the fact that no one has intruded on her since I took ownership. I’ve had no men in this space (as lovers or love interests) and all my daily tasks take place within: cooking, sleeping, bathing, and most of all, writing.
From the first night in this little, fiberglass bubble, I felt utterly at home. I felt and feel as if I have wanted this all my life—to have my world condensed in this way while at the same time having the world outside completely opened up to me.
I have bored a hole in the universe and it is all mine. I can hover around this little hideaway and scare away interlopers and retreat within with Sammy and feel at peace.
After two years, I am home. After forty years?