Ant Mansion


Yesterday, my boys and I drove to a park nearby known not so much for its playground, but for its giant sand box also known as sand volleyball courts. On a sunny day, you can sit there and pretend you’re on a beach. In Kansas. The trees somewhat camouflage the traffic whizzing by. The sounds of traffic don’t quite have the same effect as the relaxing sound of waves breaking on the shore but the water fountains and bathrooms work. Park creds for sure. My boys happily played and created “sand soups” and buried Superman and Spiderman action figures in buckets. I brought a real paperback book, instead of using the kindle app. I took off my shoes and plopped down into the sand. I touched the novel’s pages, felt the sun on my neck and pretended we were on vacation. I occasionally needed to intervene in my boys’ play. Mainly to encourage my older boys to use a nicer, less demanding tone when asking their little brother to repeatedly haul tiny cups of water from the distant water fountain back to the sand pit to add to their gloppy sand creations. His proud and enthusiastic little brother self loved having a crucial role in the sand-building assembly line.  At one point, sand started flying everywhere. Some landed on me and traveled down my shirt. The perks of a front row seat. “Guys. No throwing sand.” I said, rather calmly. After all, we were at the beach on vacation, in my mind. Laid-back mode. I think my littlest boy had grown a little tired of the endless water trafficking and wanted to prove that he had other marketable sand skills, in hopes of a promotion. His older brother managers didn’t seem to notice. Typical. I brushed the sand out from underneath my shirt and put my nose back into my book.

All of the sudden, I started to get all kinds of itchy, especially on my back. My new book had just started to get really good. I lazily didn’t want to set it down to do the aggressive sand shaking and brushing off that I needed to do. I shrugged it off, looked up at my boys and then continued reading. Or tried to. Very shortly after, I realized something was biting me. A lot of somethings actually. Ouch. My back. My butt. Everywhere! The sand had come to life underneath my clothes. I looked down. I was sitting on top of a freaking ant mansion. And the hundreds of investors/homeowners/builders were pissed. Alarm sounding. I could just imagine them all screaming at me, “HEY! YOU! Big Woman!! Get off! GET. OFF. GET OFF OF OUR HOUSE!” I jumped up and frantically started shaking, slapping myself, trying to get the ants off of me. I attempted to do this as nonchalantly as possible. I didn’t want the guys playing sand volleyball on the court next to us to think I was cheering for them. What a giant jerk. Invading the ant’s territory, not noticing their elaborate house, errr, mansion and just plopping down. Right on top of it. Serves me right. As much as I despise the ants crawling around my kitchen window, shuffling in and out stealing my crumbs, I felt sorry for these park ants that I had unknowingly disregarded. And unintentionally invaded. This was their home court. Not mine.

On the drive home from the park, I started thinking about how powerful those tiny ants were. They had quite the impact on me. They left a trail of splotchy pink reminders of their attack on my back. They teamed up. Reacted. Fought against a giant human being. And won. Their noble efforts proved victorious. I moved. Relocated my self. You can rest assured that I looked down before establishing residency further east in the sand pit. A bunch of little bitty ants swayed this gigantic bookworm mama.

I started thinking about an ant analogy. With my body still itching from the sand maybe or ants lost in the battle. Or still fighting. There are so many times that we, as humans, are going up against giants. Giants that may have invaded our space. Our thoughts. Our beliefs. Our whole existence. I learned today in a painful, yet memorable way, that little tiny ants can have an enormous impact. When they work together. When they’re invested, united and willing to fight, their little bodies hold the potential and tiny, yet mighty power to move a giant. Against all odds. I think if the ants represent our thoughts, then they can work to sway the giant, our mind, for good or for bad. Sometimes we just need to get up and move. You can’t sit on an ant mansion for too long before you start to get uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable.

I have also recognized that sometimes I can feel like just one tiny ant, which definitely can’t build or upkeep a mansion. I couldn’t make a giant flinch much less get up and move by myself. I need a lot of ants, I think we all do. All kinds of ants. Happy crumb finders. Aggressive attacking ants. Worker ants. Encourager ants. Doer ants. Thinker ants. Dreamer ants. Brave ants. Funny ants. Passionate ants. I know that there is great power in the work of a team of ants. Tiny, seemingly unimportant yet so strong and powerful when all of us unite and work together. I know we can move the giants of this world. In fact, I have the scratch marks to prove it.

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