Up for interpretation…

At this moment, millions of people around the world are uploading, updating, and sharing their stories across sites like Youtube, Facebook, Flickr, Blogger, Twitter, etc. etc. ad infinitum etc(!). There is a template to fit any mood, image, or tagline. Each of these stories are jam-packed with information. Some tell it right, others, maybe not as much. Photos, videos, comments, friends, followers, personal bios, apps… collectively, this is the stuff that stories are made of. All said, the story being told today isn’t linear. Point A? Point B? They don’t exist. Instead, each photo, comment, status update, is like a circle filling an even greater circle until something like a mosaic takes shape, the story formed, but still open for interpretation.

It has taken a certain level of restraint, balanced by a deliberate letting go, all the while being coached by the lessons from SRV, to try and start telling the story of Starfire. To collect the images, the quotes, the kind of data that will do its best to get the message out right, that’s my job. How will the mosaic of Starfire being interpreted?

Given the amount of tremendous work being done by the members and staff here, and the depth at which this work is being carried out on a daily basis, I owe the story much justice. But in real time, the story doesn’t wait, it doesn’t hesitate, and it is updated rapidly with no warning. At times I wonder how to keep up with the full picture without missing out on the intricacies.

So the night before returning to work after a week off for my wedding/honeymoon, I had a dream that seemed to put this task into perspective:

Standing in a field of tall grass, I bend down to pick up something clumpy and fragile hidden in the ground below. Straightening my legs and lifting my hands, I look down to inspect my find. Bees swarm into view, flying back and forth from their hive, now cradled in my hand. Drawing it away from my face, I gain a better view and catch a glimpse of the pure gold honey dripping out among the busy workers. Slowly it rolls out of its home, now a collapsing hive, and down my arm into the grassy unknown. The threat of a thousand stings somehow focuses me instead of frazzling, and I begin to walk slowly forward, carrying the hive to show others what I have found. I taste the honey and it is sweet. Suddenly, a sense of urgency sets in as the honey continues to drip out of its hive, while the reality of what I am holding becomes clearer. I have to rush, but calmly, so as not to upset the bees. The threat makes me empathetic, knowing the bees must feel exposed. But every drop is worth collecting and sharing, every drop lost seems a tragedy. I wake up.

Maybe a dream book would say differently, but in my mind honeybees are a metaphor for dedication and hard work, the honey a diamond in the rough, a precious find, and the risk of getting stung the feeling that comes with any kind of balancing act.

Thinking back, it’s easy to make that metaphor fit with my job description as well. The hive: Starfire’s building. The bees: the staff and members. The honey: stories. However long it may take to tell the story, however slowly, carefully, we manage to collect it, it is a great task to be given– and definitely nothing to get frazzled about.

katie bachmeyer