BY SIRI BARDARSON
February 17, 2016
Spring is near. All the harbingers are visible: daphne odora, pussywillows, quince. Racks of colorful primrose are at the grocery store. Next it will be the forsythia, then tulips and the lilac bushes.
I made my coffee the other morning and, at first, I thought they were the black feathery floaters in my vision. But no, they were the ants, determined in their scurry, coming out from the seam between the backsplash and the kitchen counter. Of course, they were in the general vicinity of the sugar bowl and the cupboard with the honey.
The ants seemed smaller than usual, not robust and shiny black, but tiny. This will make them easier to swallow when I find them in my tea.
I am not going to kill them because of a book I read with my dear friend who died just the other week. “Ants and Buddhists,” it’s called—how to teach non-violence to children.
The tiny black ants remind me of my friend, always scurrying, always moving toward the sweetness of life. Love bug, love cookie, ray of sunshine, do-gooder, force of nature, positive energy, Mother Teresa, eco-warrior, radical activist. And now she is gone.
Death has such bad timing. It wouldn’t be right for her to die at any time, but now—when the earth is coming alive, activating, rising up to every conceivable opportunity to participate in Mother Nature’s mission: more and improved. That was her vision, too. More love, larger membership in a love’s vision connecting the dots between people, places, imagination and FUN, the 100% sweetness of life’s sugar bowl.
Now she is part of the good soil from which comes all possible bounty—if care is taken. Hmmm, care, careful, loving, nurturing. There is no room for the rabble of knee-high weeds and stubborn invasives if we take loving care. Work, like my visiting ants: good work, hard work, grindy work, many-hands-making-light-work. The opportunity for the work of love is always there, but it’s most obvious right now—now, when it seems like a good idea to get outside and dig.
I don’t have to do anything about the ants. They will be gone is a couple weeks. It’s very short—the window of time for scurrying and the occasional bonus reward of the sugar bowl.
A Northwest native, Siri Bardarson is a writer with an emotional hotline to the vibrant natural beauty of Puget Sound. When not writing about the importance of the wild blackberry, daisies and natural time, she practices her cello a lot and sings at the same time. She loves her Whidbey Island home.
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