Musings

Edging around the ant beds

silver liningAh, spring.  The time for the birds and the bees, and ants and weeds.

On our walk a few days ago, Jim and I marveled at how the ants can rebound from catastrophic rain. I don’t mean the flooding rains Houston is known for, but any rain, even a relatively gentle one, that wipes out the ant beds. The next day, they’re back. How industrious those ants are!

As I started out this morning, I wasn’t thinking about ants, I was thinking about my sister Julie, who died thirteen years ago today. Every St. Patrick’s Day morning, I am taken back to that moment when I received the call from my nephew Aaron: You need to come home.

As I rounded the corner, heading east, a bank of gray clouds hung before me. The sun was rising above the clouds, rays radiating out from it into the sky, presenting what I can only describe as a silver lining.  I could go on about that, but that’s not what today’s post is about.

I was still feeling all warm and fuzzy from the silver lining, though, when I came upon a man edging along the sidewalk. He kindly paused from edging to let me pass, and we exchanged smiles and mouthed Good Mornings as I walked by. A few feet later, I noted that he had left a patch of grass and weeds where a big ant bed lay.

I have to admit, I am not a big ant fan. When, on a recent walk, the skies opened up and Jim and I took refuge under a big tree, well, let’s just say the ants didn’t appreciate my presence. They had me doing The Ant Dance, right there on the side of the road, running shoes and socks flying. I am sure it was an amusing sight for passersby.

But even ants have their place in the big scheme.

Over lunch yesterday, the conversation (inevitably) turned to You Know Who. One of my lunch companions was fresh from a trip to a small village in France, and he mentioned that he almost managed to not think about our American political mess until he passed a billboard depicting our President in a jester costume. That’s sad, regardless of your pollical leanings.

It’s hard to see the goodness in ants when they’re stinging your ass, just as it’s hard to understand how things could get so out of hand on the American (and really, global) political front. We shared a theory that everything happens for a reason. The pendulum swings, especially in politics, but for a reason. Sometimes it takes a long time to see it.

I ask, does it do me, or anyone, any good to go around smashing ant beds? I believe not.

I recently “shared” a very cute, but admittedly banal, video of chihuahuas in bunny hats on my Facebook, adding a note that I would continue these banal/happy posts until the “Facebook madness” stops. Make love not war, and all.

Responses were generally positive. Of the people who “liked” the post, several remarked on how cute the puppies were, pretty much missing my point. One friend, a beautiful person, inside and out, took offense, saying (I am paraphrasing), “I am passionate about things I feel strongly about; and being quiet about them isn’t going to effect change.”

I get it, and I agree. What I was rallying against, drawing from my arsenal of pups in hats, was venting just to vent. Spewing hate, for anything, just to spew. When you do that, you’ll inevitably alienate someone, that someone being one of your friends.

Doing so builds a wall between you and that friend. In my opinion, that’s not what the world needs right now.

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