Saturday, June 09, 2018

sex is in the air

The signs are impossible to miss. And predictable.

The rains began a bit early this year. For two days, we have had our share of downpours. And when it rains this time of year, I have visitors in the patio. Lots of them.

Because, in the spring rains, to paraphrase Tennyson, a young ant's fancy lightly turns to love. Or, at least, to sex.

Ant princesses emerge from their nests outfitted in Julia Roberts wings and take flight in hopes of encountering their own Adam Ant. If they do, they return to earth as a queen ready to start their own nest.

My patio, of course, is a dry hole. With the exception of my planters, there is little to recommend my patio to the expectant mothers. When the ants land, they start sloughing their now-superfluous wings, leaving them looking a bit more like street ants than royalty.

The first to arrive are the leaf cutters. They are probably not the first, but, because of their size, they are the first I notice.

I have long had a love-hate relationship with leaf cutters. When I lived on the laguna in Villa Obregon, fighting the ants was a daily task. They could strip a hibiscus in one night.

Of course, they always prevailed. And, even  though I hated what they did to the landscaping, I admired their organization and persistence.

When I moved to Barra de Navidad three years ago, the war was over. I had no plants in the patio that interested the leaf cutters.

For a day or two, the pregnant queens wander around the patio until they succumb to the heat. Lopping off another limb of the ant family tree.

But the leaf cutters are not alone. They come in tens. The other ants -- smaller ants -- come in the hundreds.

Yesterday the top of my pool was almost black with the corpses of tiny ants. Spencer's Faerie Queen meets Jeffrey Dahmer.

And, just as quickly as they arrived, they will vanish. Just like love.

"Go to the ant, you lazybones! Consider its ways, and be wise." Proverbs 6:6

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