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The Ant Chronicles

PERSISTENCE

Flyspeck-sized ants show up in my kitchen. I coat their pathways with vinegar. I discourage them with cinnamon, cloves and citrus. They hate citrus, I'm told.

 

I wipe fifteen to thirty of them away with a damp cloth, to their drowning demise – down the drain . . . at least a hundred times now.

 

“Have you not noticed,” I feel like yelling to them, “that your ant-friends and ant-relatives have not come back? Lesson to be learned, guys: stop entering this house or it's ant-doomsday.”

 

The list of home remedies goes on and on. And I’m game. “Aah. I think I’ve got them this time,” say I . . . until two hours later.

 

Deterred? Yes, but not for long. One ant expert wrote “How to get rid of ants? Move.” Hmm. For one insane moment I wonder if I should. A song that was cute when I was a kid: “The ants go marching one by one, Hurrah, hurrah?” Cute no more.

 

I have to tell you, ants: I would have given up long ago. “Enough already,” has often and too early been my personal theme.


But they? Fortitude. Endurance. Doggedness.

 

No wonder King Solomon wrote in Proverbs, “Look to the ant, you sluggard.”


TAKING THE BAIT

The miniscule pests are taking over my kitchen sink and work area. Finally, I decide: enough with deterrents. I buy the poison.

 

A few drops on bits of cardboard, precisely placed on the ant-super-highway. In seconds, a half dozen take the bait. They gather ‘round my poison-drop circles like friends and family ‘round a feast table.

 

I’ve given them so much credit for their plodding persistence that I did not think they would fall for it. Now a dozen, now twenty-five, now forty. Dozens more follow, follow, follow in a continuous flow of ants. It's a regular ant-death-march.

 

Some die in my sight, but most take the poison back to their ant-home, sharing the tasty find with their ant-buddies. Who also die. I watch their slow parade to destruction.

 

I learn that I must wait for the larva, pupa and adults all to meet their ant-demise. Or, one could say, the Ant-Gen-x-ers, the Ant-Millenials, and the Ant-Boomers: All must go.

 

So the hours turn into days. Finally, one glorious day, my ant-problem is solved. (This, I declared after waiting two weeks before I conclude that they are truly gone!)

 

But I surprise myself: I feel a little sorry for the ants. They did not learn from their comrades’ experience. “It smells so good, it tastes so sweet” led to their individual ends and ultimately the end of their entire society.

 

Industrious? Yes. Intelligent? No. Self-motivated? Yes. Self-controlled? No.

And what of us? “Smells so good” and “tastes so sweet” beckon us humans as well. But no temptation has overtaken us that is not common to man. And our great Provider-God provides a way of escape – if we choose to take it.

 

Not taking the bait. Not following the ant in front of us: What an idea! An idea that could become a human pioneer pathway to freedom and life.

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