Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Still fascinated

One of Jasper's recent gifts, in the garage
When I was a child I had a fascination with ants. Sugar ants (indoors) and bachacs (outdoors). I would spend ages closely examining their behaviour. With the sugar ants, I would marvel at their journey across the wall, following each other along the invisible path of what seemed to be a guidance scent left by their leader. None of them would stray from this predetermined pattern until I wiped my finger across the invisible line, breaking the scent. My imagination would peak as they scurried around madly, running back to tell others, to get their news reporters and return to the spot where the giant alien object had intruded.

Sometimes an ant would get killed by the wiping motion of my finger. The others would scurry off to call the ant ambulance and loved ones. Many of them would return, gather around the body in a circle, falling still for a moment, before moving in together, lifting the body and carrying it along the newly formed scent-path. I imagined that later, on ant TV, they would report the incident. I wondered if they knew that a human had done this or if, to them, my finger was the equivalent of a force of nature (like a hurricane, earthquake or tidal wave would be to us). I wondered if they could see me watching them and if they even knew what humans were. Were we God? I used to think that we were probably so much taller and bigger than they were that their eyes couldn't see far enough to perceive us ... and therefore we didn't exist.

Bachac at the crossroads.
I am still fascinated by ants. Between last night and this morning a whole set of them were diligently removing food from Jasper's bowl and transporting it outdoors. I spent some time watching them when I woke up early this morning. I marvelled at the fact that each piece of cat food must weigh much more than the leaves and petals they usually carry ... and yet they were still moving with such ease and determination ... sometimes alone, sometimes running to help each other.
When an animal crops up so often and so disctinctly in my life at any point, I see it as a power animal or animal totem ... bringing important messages. I can see messages here for myself. I'm sure you can see something in it for you too.

Read about the messages brought by Ant as Power Animal:
Symbol of Teamwork, Oneness and Patience
Patience, Order, Discipline (the promise of success through effort)


Kimberlie said...

Fascinating photos and facts about ants that I didn't know. And it was fun to hear how you thought about ants as a child. Thanks!

Elspeth said...

A friend of mine called me after reading this. She also used to think of ant ambulances and news reporters, etc. Maybe many children think along those lines.

Kimberlie said...

Could be. I also was fascinated by ants and followed them but not as extensively as you did/do.


while reading i recalled a short story written by Satyajit Ray that i read many times in my childhood. In that the protagonist, a 11 years old boy made characters(gave names and hierarchy) of ants living in his small terrace room.

I really like the lucidity of your writing, what you feel, you write. that's the wonderful part I like most. bye the way, I've visited your website and congratulate for your endeavor.

Elspeth said...

Thanks, Subhajit. That short story sounds fascinating. Makes me curious to find out (in a documentary sense) what various children think of ants and what stories they have in their heads about them.