Of two Ants?
I walk the 2 ½ mile path at the site
of the old Air Force Training center
in Hobbs, New Mexico, whose claim to fame
is that Jimmy Stewart trained here—
Over the early summer mornings,
I observe the cactus, mesquite, and golf course
grass. The desert’s flora and fauna labor at reclaiming
the concrete foundations and roads. We surprise
Jackrabbits, cotton tails, and the occasional bull snake
from our circuitous path.
Several days prior to this morning’s ant,
one stole my attention, struggling with a single
French fry, as if conducting an orchestra
With the world’s largest baton. A believed an act
of monumental hubris. I thought, she’s refusing
to settle for the easy task and attempting
an epic project—for a common ant.
That was until the next morning, when I spied
one of her sisters—common workers, you may
recall—are female. Today’s ant struggled
with a feather, as if dusting her retreating path
of her slight footprints. A potato fry I can see
—edible, though surely not healthy, even for ants.
But what did this diligent creature see in a feather?
There seemed sparse meat on that bone. My
wife suggested a domestic reason—to sweep
the den, or a dreamer one: it wanted to discover
the secrets of flight?
I could not question that ant, could I? Most of us plod
day to day, to earn our daily French fry, some taking on
insurmountable odds—but there are a few of us,
who do struggle with that feather, as pointless
as that registers to others.
Some are content to return from market
with today’s groceries after the grueling day’s work
—keep the family fed—satisfy the lower quadrants
of Maslow’s Pyramid. Yet, others seem unsatiated
by that single feat, demanding to supplement
life’s struggle with art.
Or maybe, I was misinterpreting my observation.
Maybe, with my limited knowledge of ant anatomy,
I had not considered—that it might have been
the same ant both days
or wouldn’t it seem profound to think so—
to fill her nearby den’s food larder the initial trip,
only to return days later with an answer to its aesthetics.