When I was about five or so, I set about a fairly lifelong mission to destroy all ant piles. You might think this born from childlike curiosity, but you'd be thinking wrong. In fact, it's a dark little story that has absolutely nothing at all to do with satisfying curiosity. It's a story that involves Mom leaving me alone in the backyard when I was still just a crawler, I turned my head for just two minutes, which was apparently all that was needed for me to fall asleep, placing my head squarely onto an ant pile just before drifting off to slumber. Briefly, no doubt. Alcohol baths and I'm sure a night of screaming were in the immediate picture. It's a painful story for Mom to tell but it's amusing to me. On that day was born in me the desire to destroy all ants, or well, to at least disturb their homes. I still do it. Not all the time, just some. I find something to poke into the pile and I watch the ants pour out of their world, and I stare in absolute wonder at how busy and organized they are. And seemingly pissed off. And a very small but clear voice inside of me says, take that.
This afternoon, I put on sweats and a t-shirt, put the dog in the car and drove us to the park. I figured some fresh air might do me good and I know Cheyenne needed it. On the way, I spotted an old man slowly ambling along the sidewalk with his cane in hand. Didn't think much about it, just noticed him. On the way back from the park, I saw him again. Standing on the sidewalk and poking his cane into an ant pile. I watched him for a bit. He'd poke the pile, grin, back up a bit, stir the pile, tap his cane on the sidewalk, lean over the pile for a closer look. I drove home with a certain feeling that I had found a kindred spirit.