One day last week, I was in the field, frustrated by failed interactions with other humans; the collaborators at one of my field sites turned off the water tap without warning me or explaining why, and it was a holiday so there was no one I could call to get help. At the next site, the water in the tank I’d set up left a suspicious sticky residue behind, making me wonder what else was in the tank. At a third site, I had to basically crawl through a small patch of woods full of nettles to get to the water tap. I had been working hard all weekend, cycling to all my field sites, hauling water to my research plots, weeding on my hands and knees, and I felt tired and defeated.
Belonging has always been somewhat of an issue with me and though I always hope to belong when I move somewhere, it’s yet to happen. I certainly have not managed to “fit in” in Dublin at all. I have a friend who calls me “socially dyslexic” and some days I wonder if I’ll ever be able to communicate with other people.
At my next site, I plopped down next to one of my research plots with a sigh. My knees were muddy and my hair was full of twigs (from crawling through the trees). The day was quite a bit cooler than expected and after a moment, a small mining bee landed on my finger, enjoying my body heat.
Maybe I can’t belong with humans, I thought, but this little mining bee likes me just fine.