"The Lone Zebra and the Bohemian Bee” - An Ode to the Individual


Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough? You have grown to a certain age to see most of your friends starting families, establishing careers and owning houses but you find youself not having any of these, nor wanting them. That’s how I feel and more than likely how you feel if you’re an American in their 30’s. What’s worse is that you know deep down inside that you don’t want that life. It feels wrong. The 9-5 office job which you dread going to but fear to lose because of the debt you racked up and the shame you will feel for not adhering to what your cohorts are doing.

Deep down you wish to fly. You want to see things others haven’t seen. To go places where pictures will never do it justice. To encounter people that will forever change your life, if only meeting them once. To experience a love which becomes an adventure of its own.

But you need money. You need to pay bills. To find a wife. To start a family. Invest in your 401k. Mow your lawn. To blend in. Nothing wrong with taking the burden of those responsibilities. There is a quiet honor in doing so. But not everyone is cut from the same cloth or whose heart races for the same ideas.

I heard once that the reason Zebras have black and white stripes is not camouflaged for their environment but to blend in with the herd so the lion can’t single one out. Sounds like work, doesn’t it? Did you know that in a bee colony every bee has a job? Some bees take care of the queen. Some bees maintain the upkeep of the hive. Some bees go into the world and forage for pollen. Every bee has a job and blends into the hive.

But what about the Zebra who breaks from the herd and goes off to explore? Or the Bee who happily flies where he wants and not where the other bees go to forage for pollen. Both do exist; statistically, they have to. The herd and the colony think they are lazy, crazy and are going to hurt the integrity of the group. The Lone Zebra is at high risks for wandering from the protection of the herd and being attacked by lions and hyenas. The Bohemian Bee is seen as a lazy welch who doesn’t serve a purpose to the colony.

A catastrophe suddenly occurs. A lightning bolt strikes a dry field and incinerates the grass where the zebra’s graze. A drought kills the flowers were the bees get their pollen. Chaos. Utter chaos takes over the herd and the hive. The Zebras frantically try to choose which way to go to find a new field to graze. The bees worry about starving and look to their queen who doesn’t have a clue which order to give to her drones. How would they survive? Who will save them from themselves?

The Lone Zebra comes galloping back to the group with scars both fresh and healed but bearing good news. The Bohemian Bee flies back to the hive and begins his elaborative dance, communicating the good news.

The Lone Zebra leads his herd to a luscious field to graze on with a large lake to drink safely from. The Bohemian Bee’s transmission of his discovery causes the colony to move miles upon miles to a place where the flowers grow wild.

It is in all of nature’s splendor and grace that we all serve a purpose. We all have meaning. Some belong to the norm while others the outlier. If you feel a calling to a place where few have ventured, then go forth. For adventure is a lover which few will gratefully know.  And the insight, the wisdom you obtain from her is priceless. A sacred responsibility which falls upon you to bring back to the group.

Everybody serves a purpose, especially the individual.

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