In my scurrying youth I would spin like a
top from A to B and occasionally
"Walking's for pigeons and I'm not a bird" my indignant reply would often be
heard when mother berated me, "slow down a while!"
But one sunshine day with steam on the trees and a thunderous breeze, I fell
in the street; alone on an errand and crouched, feeling sick at the sight of
a gash in my knee.
Woe is me!
Just as I looked to the raspberry pavement and mourned for the loss of my
skin and some tears, I noticed that ants had begun to appear, lured from the
nest by a humid sky, ready to fly.
There, where I tumbled, a beautiful specimen of insect design was flattened
and waving its legs in a morbid goodbye.
I waved to it back and shall not forget how my tears changed their reason
and guilt swelled my head.
For weeks I stopped running as a mark of respect for that little insect,
although mum was convinced that my injury caused the reduction in speed, she
was hardly correct.
I vivid remember that sticky September and a personal grief at the loss
of a friend. And a question remains: when that ant died, regardless of
size, on a tarmac altar in the mists of my youth, despite loss of blood
and a chunk from my knee, who suffered more, the insect or me?