Sunday, November 2, 2014

Redefining my relation to Ants

What a pain in the ass they can be to me, lol. I left my apartment for three days, and when I returned, there they were, nesting in some tubing surrounding a doorway next to the kitchen-sink. 

Ever time I did anything with food, it was as though an alarm had sounded “Food! Food! Food!” I ended-up killing many of them even though I often tried not to. It was as though they understood the risks; yet still they proceeded to place themselves in harm's way. I wondered what would make any living creature sacrifice their lives in search of food so to care for their community.

One day, I blocked their entrance with an extremely hot chili pepper, and they didn't come out for a while. Then I wondered how I would feel, trapped inside with no way out; so I removed the chili pepper and decided to try another way. Perhaps, I thought, we humans and ants could live together in cooperation the way I have so often written of humans  coexisting in harmony with all life. So I said to the ants: “Let's make a deal. I don't mind having you around the house here and there; it's having you guys on the countertop chasing my food every time a little bit drops. So how about we compromise? Every day, I'll place some food next to your entrance, which you can take inside to store for winter. In return, I simply ask that you stay off of my countertop.”

Upon placing the first bits of food next to their entrance way, I immediately began to notice the difference. Whereas before, there were usually hundreds of little ants roaming around the counter-top and on the floor, now there were more like a dozen or so. Ten days into my experiment of cooperation instead of confrontation, and it was as though the ants and I had come to an understanding.

I wondered: did they understand the words that I spoke; how could possible know? The only point in regards to them of which I am certain is that, as their survival needs are being met, they now rarely cross paths with me. In fact, except for when I place food at their entrance, I rarely see more than two or three of them at a time. They come out to get their food and take it in, and that's that.

Two weeks on, and my experiment in cooperation has produced gratifying results. I no longer feel like a monster for killing living creatures that are just trying to survive. Instead, I share extremely tiny bits of food with them, and for this, I no longer require to protect my food on the countertop from them. I enjoy coexisting with and caring for them even to the point of considering what nutrients they may require to sustain themselves through winter until spring time.

Some may say that in supporting the ants, I am encouraging them to stay. To this I would reply, “So what? In this case, they do no harm unto me.”


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