Murder in the Rain

In choosing the title, it was either the word “murder” or the word “rain” to be put first. In this world of social media, we are always considering what has more the draw. So I chose “murder”. No judgement there. Full disclosure, I’d probably prefer to read or watch a mystery over any other genre (feeling appropriately guilty about that and all).

On with the story. Because of the rain, this morning I arrive at my kitchen counter to find hundreds (at least) of ants scurrying around the honey jar. it is closed (thank god for something) but they are all over it. Without thinking, I pick up the jar and wash it off, killing a few score ants in the process. I open the honey and am glad to find none inside. I do all this automatically because my mind’s focus is on one one thing: my coveted morning black tea.

Afterwards, I witness the tiny debris of death in the sink. I also notice the hundreds (at least) of ants still on my counter now searching for something that is no longer there.

i watch them as they communicate to each other, butting heads for a scond and moving on, the way they do. I think about how they are sentient beings with mothers and children. how they work so well together. Without a queen bee, they seem to be one for all and all for one. I am moved by their ability to cooperate far better than humans. I remember how they can carry six (is it six?) times their weight.

As there is nothing left for them to be there for, I decide to wait it out. I don’t kill anymore. The unthinking mass murder moment is over. I am thinking since there is no more honey, the ants will eventually leave. Over the next couple hours as I go in and out of the kitchen I check in with the group. The ants that are all in a tight thick circle around where the honey was, I thought were dead as they were unmoving for hours but later in the day I came by and they were gone. By the end of the night they were all gone.

Drawing by Dana Zed, pencil and watercolor

I had the great good fortune to have a spiritual teacher for 34 years. He died suddenly. We didn’t know he was ill. A few weeks before he died he said if he were beyond alone in empty starkness and the only other being around was an ant, he would try his very hardest to communicate with that ant. It was sort of a crazy thing to say but I liked it and I always remembered it.

It’s a rather impossible situation like one hand clapping. I don’t know how one communicates to an ant but I do know that you don’t have to kill them. There’s always another way.

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