The ant in the bathtub and Wild Geese

Ok, that's a strange title to this column, and hopefully I'll connect the dots. Two things about ants recently crossed my event horizon. There was a story about researchers who discovered how ants retrace there steps home. They discovered ants take a wandering path away but a more direct way back, and they do this by counting their steps. Well, people get lost easily but ants don't, that's evolution for you.

Anyway, I question this research a little as this week I discovered an ant in the bathtub in the second bathroom. I can't figure out how it got there as they sprayed for them a few weeks ago and haven't seen any since except this one. A dark wandering speck against a white background, probably wishing it could ask for directions or read a map, thinking, "Gee, all this white just isn't right. And damn, where did the exit go, it was here awhile ago."

Along side that research it was reported by USA Today, also heard at NPR, that 25% of Americans don't have a close friend to confide in anymore. I'm curious how many admitted they did have a close friend when they really didn't, at least one enough to confide in, those you can tell something fully knowing they'll still be your friend. That means some of us are like the ant, wondering, "So now what?"

Anyway, in a similar vain, I listened to the Prairie Home Companion show for July 1, 2006, and heard Mary Oliver's poem "Wild Geese."

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, reprenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

If you're ever near a good bookstore or magazine stand, pick up the latest copy of LensWork. The articles and images will make you understand and perhaps connect the dots.

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