It’s true—ants follow an established trail.
Uninvited ants come every year and stay until the rains. This is on-going, so…I don’t even get ruffled or distressed anymore. Each family has their own schedule for visiting my house. I don’t like uninvited company that often
My sink back splash is a runway for the early arrivals. This morning as I stirred my coffee, I watched them.
It’s obvious they got a head start on the day. I picked up the wet dish cloth and rubbed a little area on their trail. I watch as two coming from home skipping and laughing along the trail stop. They run around and around searching the area. Others have arrived. They don’t for a minute believe the trail is lost. They try to show the others where it is, but after a few miles of back tracking, they’re confused.
They come together to discuss the problem.
A laggard is unhurriedly lumbering along, bringing up the rear. They tell him about it. He swaggers as he tries the wall; no luck, the trail’s cold there too. Panic is their body language as they go over and over the same area.
Here comes the entitled one who has overslept. They tolerate him as they force themselves to be polite. They want to call him lazy; no one likes a lazy ant.
They bring him up to date on the missing trail all are trying to be adult about this.
I add a bit of sugar to my coffee and say out loud, “Just an inch farther, you will find the trail.”
Coming from the opposite direction is their friend with his jowls and mouth full of last night’s banana peel that was left in the sink. He stops and is bewildered. He just came over that road, now it’s gone. He backtracks and begins to wander around the area. He tries the wall, both up and down, but comes back and sits down.
“You’re only an inch apart,” I tell him. I would have put my bet on him. He’s a self-starter. He’s half way back with the loot before anyone else is up. I would have lost my money.
Meanwhile the ongoing conference on the opposite side is deep in discussion as others show up to throw in their two cents worth. Runners are headed back to report there’s a problem and order more recruits. There may not be many, as I have a whole vacuum full.
Some are distressed, some are laughing and sharing jokes but no one is angry or blaming others.
It’s the laggard who blunders across the obliterated trail and meets his friend on the other side, who has eaten the banana peel and quit. They renew old acquaintances and he encourages his friend, who is staggering under his appetite, to go ahead and try it, it’s open and safe.
His legs are weak from hauling the excess, he makes a run for it and gets across. The trail is open at last!
Most everyone gets serious about their job and goes to work, except some of the timid ones. They want a secure, tested and safe path and are reluctant to go for it. They wait around until others have reestablished the foot paths. Some people are like that, they want a risk free life.
My coffee is getting cold so I left them to continue their day. After all, they have outwitted my attempts to keep the peace. I’ve already used up five gallons of home defense and have ant traps all over the place. Each family requires a different formula. I don’t know which tribe these are. I think the ants see the traps as decorations. Maybe there’s something I can learn here. It does say in the good book ‘Take a lesson from the ants.’ Maybe I need to walk the more established paths of life….
Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the newsletter. Please submit copy to the editor at email@example.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.
Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction 9.) Poetry
Dale, I loved this piece. I have similarly tried to dissuade visiting ant tribes and I gotta say, I find them interesting. And creative. And admirable. And relentless.
Until they get into my cinnamon roll, and then it’s war.
You have to question with their entire life foraging, what’s it all about! It’s hard to imagine
what purpose has them running everywhere they go. If one or two out gets out of commission
their brothers step over them and continue, never losing focus. Maybe their sol purpose is teaching us a lesson right under our nose’s.