May 25, 2007

Go to the ant, o sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise.

Have you ever observed ants? I mean really closely watched them? They're fascinating!

I've had several opportunities to observe their world because they keep coming into mine. All that is needed is one crumb on the floor and they sniff it out. We're talking sugar ants, here. Those teeny tiny ones.

Some came in yesterday. A crumb on the kitchen floor lured them in. I followed their trail and it led down the grout lines of the tile floor over the threshold, into the den, down the side of one wall, all the way down the other wall where they ducked under the baseboard.

I love to watch the way they single-mindedly sniff out their path - the pheromone trail left by their "snack scout". Ants travel to and from the food source along this one trail, bumping into each other along the way, while chanting their mantra - food, food, food.

What I like to do is kill one. Just one. And I do it at their point of entry into the house.

This stops others from coming in. My favorite part is how the ants on the trail react when they get close to the site of their lost compadre. They stop dead in their tracks, do a 180, and head in the opposite direction. I suspect they warn each buddy they pass because they all turn back.

Turn back! Turn back! They got him! He's down!

Yesterday I killed one where they were coming in and watched them for a while. Two ants were carrying one huge chunk they had chiseled off of a crumb. It was too big for one so both were working together to get it back to the queen.

What teamwork! You walk backwards. No, I don't want to walk backwards, you walk backwards.
Before the warning signal got transmitted too far down the trail, I killed them, one by one, until I approached the sweet nugget of sugary goodness they had attacked like Uruk Hai swarming on Helm's Deep.

These creatures are so small, yet they can carry something several times their own weight. They are so skilled yet so teeny weeny. Their legs are thinner than a human hair. Their head is no bigger than the dot of an 'i'. Yet in this speck of a body, they have been created and given abilities that allow them to conquer things bigger than they are and sustain themselves.

Intelligent design. How can it be denied?

Evolve from a cataclysmic explosion in space. How can it be given credence?

Then I killed one in the valley surrounding Mount Munch. What I observed was remarkable!

One little guy headed down the trail to bring his gift to the queen when he detected the "somebody got squished" pheromone. He turned and headed back toward the mountain to tell his buddies. Now he didn't just choose the first guy he came to. He chose the big guy - the one who looked like a regular sized ant - who was at the base of the mountain. I suspect this guy had some "special purpose" since he was bigger than the rest.

I think he was wearing a hard hat and I could see a wee little clipboard in his hand.

Anyway, El Jefe spread the word to the workers on Crumb Mountain. They seemed a bit agitated - aw man, we're being attacked - then went back to work on disassembling the food. Then El Jefe and his sidekick started trying to find a new path back home. Hunting and pecking, here then there.

I'm sure they would've succeeded, but the giant destroyed them all. Muahahaha!

Until next time, when I will use a magnifying glass to get a closer look.....

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