Wayne's Weekly Reader

by Wayne Klick

June 23, 1999

Ants in my Rants

In the middle of our backyard, there is a prominent circle of rocky/sandy soil, three feet in diameter, with a hole at its center.  Eternally, constantly, with the absolutely consistent procession of time and biological evolution at its back, there is movement in and out of this hole.

Hundreds of tiny creatures, all identical from the human perspective, crawl, frenetically at times, in and out of the ground at this point.  There must be an amazingly intricate system of tiny tunnels under the sand.  I'd love to go down there with a flashlight and check it out.

I love to watch these little fuckers.

I envy their ambition and steel-willed determination -- their soulless drive to go out, find something (anything so it seems), and bring it back.

The ants never stop.  One must speak of them only as a collective in the Borg sense.  There are no individuals.  Each is merely an extension of their one body.  They lose drive the farther they get from the home hill, as they stretch the invisible linking tendril that attaches them -- becoming aimless at a distance of 20 feet until they get pointed around toward the hole.

They are most in tune when they are closest to the nest.  When I watch them go in and out, I often imagine where the Queen might be and how far down in the ground they keep her.  Oedipal?

There's a wall between our patio and the backyard.  Naturally a few ants make it past the wall, either over it or through the gate.  But very few actually make it into the house.  I would much much prefer to cohabitate with the Queen and her vast horde.  I wouldn't want to upset the Goddess, and, like I said, I admire them and love to watch and photograph them.  They give good practice with the macro lens on my digicam.  (You see one has to be quick, unless one enjoys the sensation of a frenetic multi-legged creature climbing up one's leg or into one's sock -- or better yet several multi-legged creatures...)

So I have no plans regarding extermination.  Besides, they were here first.  Some do make it onto the patio, and there I take reflex defensive action, stepping on them.  I want to cohabitate, but I must guard my boundaries.  After all, killing one of the little tendrils barely nicks the collective whole.  It's like stepping on somebody's toe so they won't advance.  I figure that if I leave them alone elsewhere, and they sustain casualties among the outlanders who make it onto the patio, they eventually will not go there, knowing other regions are safer.  This approach hasn't had any noticeable effect yet but we just moved in.  Overall though, so far, we are getting along fine.

I'm sure if the ants thought that helping out on the mortgage would advance their cause, they would find a way to do it.  However, then they might think they deserve more access -- and I'm sure the would be the toughest of negotiators.

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