Into The Hornets Nest

Into The Hornets Nest

Growing up, I would go to the lake with my grandfather. He was an avid fly fisherman and taught me the graceful art of casting a line gently beneath the shade of an overhanging birch tree. He was a master. That’s what 60 years of fishing will do.

One trip, as we were trekking from the city to the lake, my grandfather informed me that there were a few things he needed my help with before we could enjoy fishing on the lake.

“There’s this really pesky nest of hornets on the side of the lake house that I’m going to need you to get down.”

“Okay, no problem.”

“Well, wait until you see it,” he said. “This is a very large hornets nest and these things are not happy.”

Upon arrival, we strolled to the side of the cabin and sure enough there it was. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of encountering a hornets nest, this nest was 20 feet up and the size of a large man’s abdomen. It had to be packed full of hornets, humming around, doing hornet things and thinking nasty little hornet thoughts.

I began my ascent up the ladder. My grandfather handed me a large sack and a thick glove.

“Now here’s what you’re gonna wanna do,” he began in his southern drawl, “Quickly sneak up the ladder, slide the sack under the nest and before they know what’s hit them, you very gently and delicately push the nest into the satchel. Then hold on tight.”

I was holding my breath. I didn’t want to tell him, but I was nervous. Keep it together, I was telling myself.

“Oh and one last thing, don’t get stung!” He gives me a big thumbs up.


3 rungs up…6 rungs senses were on edge. I could hear the insects and wildlife everywhere—chirping, chiming, the sounds of the forest.

Then suddenly, all went completely silent, as if Mother Nature herself was pausing for this moment of manliness in the wild. I swear I could hear my intestines crying out in pure panic. Everything in me was saying, this is not right, don’t do this, you’re going to die!

6 rungs left, it’s so quiet. Why is it is so quiet? Is nature really watching me, planning on laughing at the humor about to ensue as I was engulfed with thousands of hornets and fell into the lake to my death?

Your mind says some amazing things in the moments leading up to a risky situation. My most clever and creative moments have come in these scenarios.

I reached the final rung. My nose was inches from the nest. Deep breath. I brought the satchel silently beneath the mammoth-sized nest and BAH!

Hornets! Everywhere! What the——

The ladder was shaking. Earthquake!

I ran down the ladder and had to catch my wits. I was freaked out and shocked.

My grandfather was laughing uncontrollably. Mother Nature was guffawing. Even the stupid beavers in the lake were splashing in glee.

I’d been pranked!

My grandfather had sprayed the nest with poison weeks before and left it on the lake house so he could play a little joke on his unsuspecting grandson. How cruel, yet what forethought and pranking genius.

The nest was completely dry and empty! What?!

Reality was altered when I grabbed the nest. I couldn't believe the nest was empty because I was so convinced it had hornets in it.

I was standing face-to-face with a giant hornets nest and lived to tell about it. Yet my mind believed it was a live nest. I couldn’t be convinced that it was hornet-less.

I had believed something so fully that it was hard to come to my senses. "You mean there aren’t hornets in the nest?” I asked for the fifth time.

The same scenario happens with entrepreneurs who won't let their idea die. They climb the ladder and wholeheartedly believe their idea will work. Even when the writing is graffiti’ed on the wall, they can’t see it. They're blind to reality—no matter what feedback they receive.

Even though there weren’t hornets in that nest, I swear I would have felt them stinging me if someone had pinched me.

It’s hard to do, but avoid falling so in love with your idea that the hornets sting you. Wake up to reality and see the writing on the wall. It’s not the idea that does it anyway, it’s the execution.

Be known for executing your ideas. Good ideas are not the hard part.

Reality set in after a few minutes and I couldn’t stop laughing and replaying the moment. I took the hornets nest down and brought it home with me. I took it to science class and had a bit of fun scaring the girls in class. I taught them a little lesson about reality too.

Bzzzzzzzzz…I can still hear the non-existent hornets buzzing in my ears.

(photo via