It’s true, ants follow an established trail.
Uninvited ants come into my house every year and stay until the rains stop.
This is an on-going dilemma so I don’t even get ruffled or distressed anymore.
Each ant family has its own schedule for visiting my house. However, I don’t like company that often. My sink backsplash is a runway for early arrivals. I watched them as I stirred my coffee on a recent morning.
It’s obvious they got a head start on the day.
I picked up a wet dish cloth and rubbed a little area of their trail. Then I watch as two ants coming from home come skipping and laughing along the trail. Suddenly, they stop. They run around and around searching the area I’ve rubbed.
Other ants arrive. They don’t for a minute believe the trail is lost.
They try to show the others where it is, but after a few inches of back-tracking, they’re confused. They come together to discuss the problem.
A laggard unhurriedly lumbers along, bringing up the rear.
The others tell him about the lost trail.
He swaggers as he tries the wall. No luck, the trail’s cold there, too.
Panic is their body language as they go over and over the same area.
Here comes the entitled one who has overslept. They tolerate him as they force themselves to be polite. They want to call him lazy.
No one likes a lazy ant.
They bring him up to date on the missing trail. All are trying to be adult about this.
I add a bit of sugar to my coffee and say out loud, “Just an inch farther and you will find the trail.”
Coming from the opposite direction is their friend with his jowls and mouth full of last night’s banana peel left in the sink.
He stops and appears bewildered. After all, he just came over that road and now it’s gone.
He backtracks and begins to wander around the area. He tries the wall, both up and down, but comes back and sits down.
“You’re only an inch apart,” I offer.
I would have put my bet on him. He’s a self-starter. He’s half-way back with the loot before anyone else is up. However, I would have lost my money.
Meanwhile, the ongoing conference on the opposite side is deep in discussion as others show up to throw in their two cents worth.
Runners are seen heading back down the trail to report the problem and order fresh recruits.
There may not be many more, however, as I now have a vacuum filled with ants.
Some are distressed, some are laughing and sharing jokes, but no one is angry or blaming others.
It’s the laggard who blunders across the obliterated trail and meets his friend on the other side who by now has eaten the banana peel and has quit working.
They renew old acquaintances and he encourages his friend, who is staggering under his engorged stomach, to go ahead and try it. The trail is open and safe.
But his legs are weak from hauling the excess. Suddenly, he makes a run for it and gets across. The trail is open at last!
Most everyone gets serious about their job and goes back to work except for the most timid ones.
They want a secure, tested and safe path and are reluctant to go for it.
They wait around until others have reestablished the foot paths.
Some people I have known are like that. They want a risk-free life.
My coffee is getting cold so I let them continue their day.
After all, they have outwitted my attempts to keep the peace.
I have a vacuum full and my ant traps are all over the place. Each family requires a different formula. I don’t know which tribe these are.
Maybe there’s something I can learn here. It does say in the good book, “Take a lesson from the ants.”
Maybe I need to walk the more established paths of life.