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.