Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shiny ants

I love the way ants of different kinds can inhabit the same regions quite densely but can completely ignore each other. This morning I was watching huge ants, as long as the first knuckle of my little finger, calmly going about their business. The sun had been up for about an hour and a half, and was just starting to remind the skin that the day was on the way to hot hot hot. The air still had that chill of morning, though. The light shone on the ants as they pottered about, exploring the bark and leaves and concrete near the bus stop.

Littler, but still not tiny, black ants were much busier. They were bustling about the place, sticking to their known paths, looking out for food or whatever it is ants do in the morning. The big ants, the calm ones, just stepped over the black ant trails without any bother. The black ants ignored them just as much as they ignored me.

The huge ants were the ones that cause fear in the hearts of men with lawnmowers. The ones that if they get inside your car are nearly as frightening as hunstman spiders. The ones that bite, and bite and don't let go. But this morning, they just quietly gleamed among the gum leaves.

And then I hopped on the bus and was greeted by the smiling driver as if I was a friend in a dream, come back from the dead for an all too brief time together and I sat down and read about the depression of Charlotte Bronte and was mildly irritated by Elizabeth Gaskell's need to apologise for Bronte's moments of irritation and mustard.

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