opening ourselves with the hinging daylight hours

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

of ants

i've been experiencing this sort of intimacy with ants since i was a little young child. Back then i made a pact with my friends that we would never ever kill an insect, particularly ants. we all agreed and shook hands in a partnership set upon making a difference in the world. This came out of witnessing my mother coming out the backdoor from the kitchen with a large pot of boiling water to wash away the ants. at the time i felt the terror of a little young ant's last moments of community scalding hot disappearing into nothingness. now looking back i am thanking my mother for never putting down ant poison or any poison in her garden and the food she feeds the children.

ants have taught me great lessons of determination, strength, minuteness, and an ever-opening cosmos.

i had an ant farm when i was a kid, and somedays i think i might have built my farm on an anthill. certainly not the most immediately damaging garden pest, but ants have a symbiotic relationship with aphids. Basically the ants carry the aphids all around. They love them they protect them, eat honeydew from them, and spread them all around my garden, scare children, and work me.

we released 50,000 ladybugs this weekend in a grand celebration of liberation and beneficials overcoming the pests. ladybugs eat aphids.

now i am the woman boiling water in her kitchen carrying the tea kettle out to pour on the garden. sometimes (like today) i spread diatomaceous earth, the remnent skeletal remains of sharp sea diatoms. when the ants walk around in it and carrying it back into their nests, the bodies of seashells scratch up the eggs, dry up their adult buddies, and die.

yes it is a difficult tension. we companion plant with aromatic herbs everywhere, sage, cilantro, dill, yet still i feel that if i don't put my footdown we'll be overtaken, and even if i do put my footdown they'll crawl up my pants. yes, ants put off a certain pheromone, a communicative hormone screaming frenzy into masses. a crushed ant emits an alarm pheromone summoning to the others. with hightened senses i lift a flat of brandywine tomatoes up off the pallet and smell them before i see them. ANTS......

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