The Power to Help.

I have two ants safely harbored in a peanut butter jar, a piece of screen keeping them inside.  They came here inside my husband’s lunchbox from the construction site.  Of course, they didn’t come on purpose.  They weren’t particularly interested in visiting places far, far away.  They were after goodies and got hijacked by the lid being closed and zippered shut.  So home they came…surviving what had to be a very dangerous and uncomfortable trip, jostled between empty lunch containers, locked inside a plastic and nylon environment in 100 degree heat. 

So hubs opens lunch box to dump his containers into the sink and does the old, “Ants! Oh, great.”

Now, I have a “thing” about ants.  It’s the one creature…en masse…which will send me screaming off in a frothing panic. (I was bitten by red ants when I was a child and have never quite recovered from the experience.)  But I also have a “thing” about life and its being precious.  I have a “thing” which demands me respect all life…and non-life.  And, me, a human, has the power to help.  And that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it?  If I have the power to help, doesn’t that obligate me to help where I can, when I can?  I think so.  Caring matters.  If one doesn’t care, if things don’t matter, what’s the point?

So back to the story.

So, lid open, one of the two ants trapped inside started perambulating around in a bit of a frenzy.  One got outside the box and disappeared.  The other was just doing laps inside. 

I see all manner of containers, but everything is plastic or styrofoam — death to insects put inside because they are saturated with things like pesticides or made using formaldehyde. (Nice to think that our food comes in these things, right?) Quickly, I grab the clean, empty, glass peanut butter jar, wondering where the “outside” ant went off to, and how I would be able to find her to get her safely inside the jar for the return trip home tomorrow.  Ah!  There she is!  I manage to get her to walk inside the jar.  Now for the other one.  She’s not so easy, but, with the help of a piece of paper towel, she’s induced to take a ride inside safety.

Screen lid anchored in place, and they are ready to roll, no longer “lost ants,” but simply on an adventure and ready for the return trip home.

I used my power to help. 


Yes, they made it safely back to their ant homes.  Hubs was very conscientious about getting them back to exactly where he ate lunch the day before.  And he watched them as they made tracks out of the jar and onto “familiar ground.”  They immediately ran into more ants, did the “feeler thing,” as he called it, then made tracks, following other ants headed to a “known ant home.” 

I really like the construction crew.  They are very conscientious.  All of them.  And that’s as it should be since the two owners, Hubs and partner, are both eco-minded.  If the crew wasn’t, I guess they wouldn’t be crew very long, right?

Oh, and, I failed to mention, I put a bit of water on aforementioned paper towel the morning of transport back home, and both ants made quite an elaborate show of drinking.  Those were some thirsty ants.  They must have snacked on some of hubby’s favorite Triscuits! 

2 thoughts on “The Power to Help.

  1. I once met a woman originally from India and the Jain religious tradition. The Jains are a heterodox sect within Hinduism who have an extremist reverence for all life. They are strictly vegetarian, and even go as far as filtering their water and wearing cloth masks to prevent any inhalation of tiny insects.

    Of course, this sort of ideal is common in Asia, but I take it that other faiths are less strict about the karma of intention…believing that even if one harms another sentient being, it is only the ‘intention’ to do so which incurs negative karma.

    Surely though, I asked, these principles are dependant on size and disposition. Does the reverence for ALL life extend to pathological organisms like lethal bacterias???

    If grizzly bears were the size of gerbils would people keep them as pets, instead of shooting them?

    Or if ants were the size of bears would we still be enchanted by their attendance at the picnic table?

  2. All life is to be revered. Harm not intentionally.  Veganism?  Not necessary. Ask the Dali Llama.  A carrot killed is as dead as a cow killed.  Instead, remember that that cow and that carrot gave their lives that you could maintain yours.

    Karma is based upon the idea of guilt, a control mechanism.  Instead, the purity of self has to be, not by inducement of some negative punitive result, but voluntary without coercion.

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