Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
147Trip End Oct 25, 2010
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I left a cup of orange juice on the table outside and noticed some ants making their way towards it. Well, it was hot and I thought they were either thirsty or fancied a swim, and forgot all about it. Till we sat down for dinner and I saw what looked like the mesh of very fine tealeaves in the cup. There must have been thousands and thousands of them, dead or overcome? - they weren't moving, that's for sure.
I know it's daft, but tears welled up and I felt extremely guilty for stupidly thinking they were going to have a nice time. Maybe they were just intoxicated; had the juice turned alcoholic?
Peter cruelly tells me they are very dead and suggests we put out some more juice as it seems a lot more effective than his insecticide
I decide to ignore him for the rest of the day, how could he, he knows I have a thing for ants.
There is a busy trickle of them now, climbing up the table leg, scurrying across the surface, in a straight line, as ants do. I start to study them; going back and forth, some seem to briefly connect or check each other out before continuing on their way to the killing fields.
Once there, they halt and then daintily pick their way through the bodies. Stopping every now and then, maybe someone they recognize, though they all look the same to me. They seem to know exactly what they are doing, a well organized mission. Tiny brains, if any, so who comes up with the ideas?
I try to follow just one but it's impossible and I idly wonder if I could put a droplet of paint on one of the slower ones so it would be easier to observe but I quickly abandon that fancy, no one wants to be the odd one out.
Anyway, I think we should respect their privacy and let them get on with this ritual; do the decent thing and leave the table.
Next morning I can't wait to check them out. To my astonishment the cup is clean empty, not a trace of an ant.
They have been resurrected! Woken from their drunken stupor, staggered back home by the light of the moon, probably sleeping it off right now.
I am overjoyed. I rush to Peter to smugly inform him of this miracle. He can hardly hide his mirth as he, gently this time, explains that the able bodied ants have carried off the dead that will be on the menu for the next couple of days. Ant à l'orange.
I am appalled and reluctantly make my way to the computer to see if Wikipedia can bring some solace.
There is a world of information on ants but nothing conclusive about them tucking in to their own. A further search reveals both a definite 'no' and a positive 'yes'. So I choose to believe they don't. I'm just going to go on thinking they lived happily ever after.
Well, that's it really, no lessons to be learned here. Unless you count the fact that I sweetly poured Peter's coffee into the empty ant cup, hoping the ants would appreciate this small symbol of solidarity.
So yes, I suppose you can conclude that though ants are fairly amazing, you shouldn't let yourself get carried away by them.........