February 23rd, 2004

abstract butterfly

Fire ants

Saturday I wore loose-fitting "painter pants" jeans. I sat on a bank beside a pond and enjoyed watching the sun shine on the water, making those little shimmers of reflected waves. I felt I was at peace, although actually I had declared war and did not know it.

When I drove down the gravel road, past the kid goats and the rooster, to the paved farm road on the way home, I suddenly felt a sharp jab on my legs. Then I felt another tingling jab, and yet another. Soon I was slapping my legs, because I knew that I'd somehow sat down on a fire ant nest.

During my whole childhood, media reports told us that plagues of insects would ruin civilization as we know it.
First, the fire ants were heading north. Then, the killer bees were swarming up. Both had an impact on the local ecology, where fire ants displaced some native ants, and killer bees hybridized with honey bees, cutting honey production. Neither proved the disaster that Reader's Digest predicted. But I'd still rather forego a fire ant encounter if I can. In every yard in north Texas, their mounds loom.
They are very territorial, and hostile to anyone who intrudes on what they see as their "territorial waters".

One ant climbed just north of my sleeve, and stood there, battle-ready, like something out of a video game. Today I have fifteen or so little ant bite welts, all acquired in a roughly ten minute span.

Folks talk a lot these days about "self-realization" and "knowing oneself". Well, I know how a fire ant bite feels, and I suppose that's something.
abstract butterfly

moral deficit spending

"National events determine our ideals, as much as our ideals determine national events"--Jane Addams

He says he's a conservative, but this Congress spent us nearly into the ground. He says he's a patriot, but he supports tax cuts in wartime. He comes from the party of states' rights, but favors federal circumvention of state tort and domestic relations law. He calls the legislated denial of civil liberties a "patriot act".

I wish Will Rogers were here. He'd have something pithy to say. I just cannot believe that folks will likely re-elect him.