Tuesday, August 18, 2015

In Which I Probably Should, I Don't Know, Take Up a New Hobby or Something

Not that my life was frantic before - I've always made a point of moving at a pace that could best be called 'desultory' - but it has calmed the heck down living here in the Indian countryside.

I became vividly aware of this yesterday when I spent 20 minutes watching an ant drag a dead bug out of my apartment.

Why was there a dead bug in my apartment that I hadn't picked up, you ask? Or an ant, for that matter? You're missing the point, I answer.

Anyway, out of the corner of my eye I noticed what looked like a dead bug moving across the white tile floor. Scuttling over to investigate, I saw a single, tiny ant, easily 30 times smaller than the dead bug, pulling it slowly but resolutely toward the crack beneath the front door. It was a mesmerizing effort.

I mentally composed rhapsodic odes to Hard Work and A Spirit of Never Quitting, going so far as to become misty-eyed over this ant's determination. It disappeared under the door with its prize, so I waited a few minutes before opening the door to check on its progress.

Which, OK, oops, that's when I remembered there's a plastic guard at the bottom of the door, so I cruelly snatched the dead bug away from the ant.

You can imagine how terrible I felt.

The ant scurried off, even though I tried to nudge it back toward the dead bug, which I'd liberated from beneath the plastic guard with a stick. Nothing doing.

So, I poked the dead bug to a prominent and visible spot on the tiles of my front patio and went to have some lunch. To my delight, when I came back I saw that seven or eight ants were now pulling the dead bug toward wherever ants take dead bugs. Teamwork! Perseverance! Hooray!

All of which is to say, I'm spending quite a bit of time in the company of ants and clouds passing and birds soaring and the idle meandering of my drifting thoughts. In a country of 1.2 billion people, I'm learning to open my eyes and take the deep breath that lifts me just off the ground, so I can float beside the loneliness instead of bashing my forehead against it.

Besides, all it takes is one bus ride into the city and I'm ready to be back with the ants pulling their treasure home.

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