The ants have it. They found a way into the frozen dinner and then invaded the Tupperware container en mass. But first it must have been the lone scout. He or she was the one to come across the prize, had followed the scent, had stumbled over it, or had purposefully set out on an adventure, but find it the ant did! And then it was not enough simply to gobble its fill and keep a check for exactly where to find the treasure when it returns, oh no, it had to go brag about it. So the other ants heard about this massive mother load and they followed the trail and, bingo! And just how long they’d been at it, gorging themselves, is anybody’s guess, but an entire town of ants had pretty well relocated from their usual neighbourhood and made themselves at home in the new watering hole by the time M’Lady found them. They each had had their moment.
Industrious critters, aren’t they? They seem to overcome every obstacle, gnaw their way into every container, and populate one’s universe with their creepy-crawly-ness. Rather difficult then to ‘go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise!’ Proverbs 6:6 has an injunction against us dismissing ants. It is very seldom one sees one at rest. They move on!
Doing has its own rewards. Not doing does too. It is awareness that differentiates. As I type I am of two minds. There is a live and frantically buzzing bee caught in the spider’s web over the light in my bathroom. I watched it zoom toward the light. It bashed itself up against the dome of the thing, over and over. I was going to take a glass and rescue it but then it got caught in the thread, and besides, at this late hour, with the doors all locked in the cottage and the screens on the windows, setting the thing free will be quite a chore. Best to let nature take its course? But was it nature that had us washing those ants down the drain, spraying the kitchen, wiping them up? Was it not little Bitty’s first outing? Did his parents not fearfully wave him goodbye when he begged to go with the bigger ants on their wild escapade? And are his folks not now still up, bothered in their warren, checking anxiously every exterior sound for his arrival? Ha! We anthropomorphize easily, we humans. I doubt that ants see us as humans at all. Nor do bees feel for us, either way.
But we humans feel deeply when our loved ones are no longer. There are heart wracking sobs and self-recriminations and deep sighs of discontentment with our lot. “Don’t do this to me,” we say of the dead. Especially if they’ve not yet lived a full life. We are distressed and shocked and stupefied. One minute one’s child, one’s loved one, one’s friend, one’s family member was here, and the next you hear by phone, or by word of mouth, or by mail that, well, they’re never coming back. And never is forever.
M’Lady’s memoir is at a painstaking retrospective of too much loss. The sheer volume and weight of incident after incident would be so very dreary were it not for the intermittent fun of fairy parties, an arrest for taking a late night pee in a public place, a party to go to here or there, the treat of trips and expeditions and ventures that bring one back, safe! But as for the ants, for the bee, or even the midge flying around my desk lamp right now, their moments are numbered.