Friday, August 8, 2008

Amazing Ants and Their Movable Feast

I remember about this time last year I was walking by one of the very large and grainy ant hills on the property and I suddenly realized an ant hill. Meaning, I had looked at hundreds probably over the years but I had never really seen one until last year. I saw that the hill was made up of thousands of grains of sandy earth. As this hill was about a foot high at the peak I would say many, many thousands of grains.

And I paused to bend down and watch all the business and that's when I realized the ant hill. Realized that each grain of sand had been brought up by hand, ok mandible, from under ground. One grain at a time, they just kept at it; excavating, placing, returning, and repeating the whole process again and again.

I saw it as a symbol for my own journey and was inspired by their patience, tenacity and vision, and also their perseverance in building; despite the fact that their creation could come undone at any time. And actually I realized just how amazing they are!

A few weeks ago I caught sight of an average sized ant trapped in the jaws of a not very big spider, maybe twice the size of the brown ant. The spider was hanging out on a dead twig of a butterfly bush. This was not so remarkable in and of itself. What was, though, was that another ant was frantically trying to save the trapped ant from the spider's jaws. Every time it would get close to it the spider would repel off onto a strand of web and flail around out of the rescue ant's reach. This went on for about ten minutes and was completely enthralling to me, the intelligence of this ant, maybe the emotion of this ant?

They are all over this summer. Peering down one morning this week at some seedlings poking out of dry ground and mulch I saw what looked to be a most peculiar stick insect. Upon closer inspection I found it to be not a stick insect but two ants carrying a slim grey twig. They obviously had a particular destination in mind and trundled through quite a few twigs and pieces of bark. Why this twig? I asked myself. 

Squint closer. Twig? Not a twig at all but a section of lizard's tail! Parlez? Hmmm. I ran inside to get the little point and shoot with the macro lens. They had made it to the brick walkway by the time I came out.

Here they are, like two furniture movers. You can see the scale next to half of an eaten sunflower seed which just happened to be laying there. Click on the image to enlarge and you'll see it much better.

And then they just stopped. I couldn't see it with my naked eye but once I downloaded the file I saw they were actually munching on it, and it looked very meaty. Yum! After regrouping they set off again with their moveable feast. I have no idea where they went but maybe to the rest of the colony to share.

God blooms from the shoulder of the elephant who becomes courteous to the ant.  ~Hafiz

No comments:

Post a Comment