Saturday, July 21, 2007


The Bible advises lazy people to check out the ant as an example of industriousness for good reason, because they certainly are. As we were walking back to the house from getting the mail the other day, I thought I saw a bumpy caterpillar making its way across the hot asphalt road. I am fond of bumpy caterpillars because they often turn into beautiful butterflies, and it occurred to me that the caterpillar was going to burn up before it made it across the road because it was so hot. I decided to help it along. Only as I got closer, I saw that it wasn’t a caterpillar at all. It was a very large white grub being hauled along by 5 red ants that were very tiny in comparison. None of the ants could have moved the grub by itself, but together they could maneuver the prize across what for them was a huge distance to share it with the rest of the colony. I did not offer to help the ants with their grub. After struggling with some higher math, my brilliant husband helped me figure out that just moving across the road for them would be the equivalent of us carrying something slightly more than a half mile, and I have no idea how far away from the road they were when they found the grub or how far on the other side their nest was. And not too long after that thought-provoking scene, I stood on the porch getting ready to hang clothes on the line and stuck my hand into the burlap bag where I keep my clothespins. In the past I’ve encountered a wren’s nest in the clothespin bag, but I was not prepared for what I did find: a huge colony of ants had decided to make their home amongst the clothespins. So along with the handful of clothespins came hundreds of ants and ant eggs and in seconds they were swarming up my arm. It was horrible. I decided to use the clothes dryer because I didn’t have time then to deal with them. But I did later.