Together We Rise: Gran and Her Fire Ants

Figure 3:  Close up of the ant raft interface with the water surface

Source: Nat Geo

Gran, with all her light-filled heart and wrinkle-lined cheek, loved to point out the learnings that surround us, every minute of every day, just waiting to catch our eye, our attention, our hope. And boy, am I glad she did, because she taught me to watch for them as well.

These days, as waves of awareness come washing through our societies, our worlds, our minds, uncovering long-buried fears of separation, anxiety, and exclusion, almost drowning us in the light of consciousness, I am reminded of her story of the fire ants.

You know about fire ants, don’t you? Little buggers that swarm like mad, eat just about everything in their path, and leave a blazing trail behind them that you won’t soon forget, especially if that trail happened to be over your big toe or up your leg or down your collar.

There’s something we humans could really learn from these ants, she taught me. They know about survival – including how to survive in almost unheard of conditions.

Like flood waters. Flood waters like we’re facing right now.

You know what those fire ants do? They’ve learned to come together. Instead of staying trapped inside their mounds, instead of isolating and insulating in quietly deadly ways, instead of running for cover, running for each other’s throats, or running away with any other reactionary, knee-jerking impulse that would lead to drowning, they come together.

That’s right. As the waters rise, they come together, forming living rafts that float on the water’s surface, great masses on which they carry their larvae, their future, their hope. Clinging together by day and by night, they ride the waves until solid ground again appears.

Today, I am grateful to Gran for the lesson of the fire ants. Maybe not for that bite from last week – but for their lesson in passing through. Passing through the waves, passing through what may seem like the biggest challenges, the greatest darknesses, we’ve ever faced.

How do we do it? By coming together. Finding our strength, in ourselves, and in the group, and in the power of vulnerability – facing our limits and working with what we have – the need for each other, the need for community.

As the waters swirl around us, may we come together. One step, one community, one world at a time. For as the waters rise, we will rise. Together.

Just like in the circles and professional environments we inhabit by day: It takes a team. Thank you for being part of mine.

(C) 2017 Mary Batson,
All rights reserved, especially the one to rise.


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