A neighbor knocks on our door and begs us to come pick his peaches. “Take all you want!” They have so many peaches falling off their trees that the ground reeks of them.
“But beware of the yellow jackets,” he says ominously and then departs for his travels.
I take my youngest daughter to the peach trees. I carry an epi-pen for my yellow jacket allergy, a bucket, and my dreams of peach ice cream and cobbler.
We cannot even approach the tree. Armies of yellow jackets fight over smashed peaches. Yellow jackets blanket the lawn. They suffocate the tree trunks and swarm aggressively. I look down and see masses of them sucking the sweet juice off of rotting peaches.
There’s nowhere to walk without endangering ourselves. Finally, we gingerly travel in a wide circle around the tree and try to reach the luscious fruit by hanging far over the deck. As I reach for a peach above my head, I enclose a fist full of yellow jackets that were feasting on the other side of my peach. Shaking my hand free of them, I start running.
“Let’s go!” I shout to my daughter. “This isn’t a good place for us! It’s not safe!” We race home. Suddenly the taste of peach cobbler isn’t that appetizing.
Lesson learned: Run away from harmful environments. Flee! My epi-pen was no match for a swarm of yellow jackets. Living with flair means not being foolish. There are some places we should not go and some activities we should not do. That’s what I want to tell my daughters and the incoming college freshman. Stay out of trouble by fleeing environments that are just not good for you.
Journal: Where should I stop going and what should I stop doing because it’s not good for me anymore?