Saturday, March 27, 2010

Drawing a line in the Sand


Drawing a Line
in the sand...

when I was walking
the coastal track
this morning
I came across a line
drawn in the sand

at first I thought
it may have been 
a column of furry caterpillars
that like to travel 
tip to tail
and give off a putrid stench 
if touched

but when I looked closely
I saw that it was a marvelous
feat of structural engineering

it stopped at a fallen leaf
where the ants were congregated

and from there
some of the tunnel
was only in wall stage
looking like a pin ball maze

while other sections
were nearing completion
nearly sealed over

and I wondered...
how can this architectural wonder exist
how do the grains of sand stick together
how does the roof stop from falling in
do the ants climb on each others' shoulders to build the roof
what is the tunnel's purpose
do the ants not like the sun
or the rain

what function does the tunnel perform
how long had this building taken
how many workers were employed
how do they know which section to work on...

It was still early morning
and few joggers and walkers 
had made their way
along the track...

Within an hour
the tunnel would be trodden on 
and destroyed
by feet oblivious
to the structural masterpiece
created during the night
in the sand...

would the ants start again
or would it be time
to draw a line in the sand...

who would make the decision to quit
would there be a consensus
do ants have telepathic communication...



  1. The ants go marching six by six, hurrah, hurrah
    The ants go marching six by six, hurrah, hurrah
    The ants go marching six by six,
    The little one stops to pick up sticks
    And they all go marching down to the ground
    To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

    Sorry, couldn't resist.
    Now we'll both have this endless tune running in our heads all day.

  2. Delwyn
    I also wonder about ants and how they can carry large items and do all they can. A few weeks back my daughter and I were walking to the car and saw an ant carring a stick--and it was moving fast!

    Great close-up pictures

    Tracy :)

  3. Such wonderful engineering and sheer diligence does raise serious questions about where we really fit in the scheme of things.

  4. I've never seen ant tunnels above ground like that. Once though I discovered a caravan of ants...marching on their little highway, some going and some coming. I tracked them from my flower garden, on the left side of the property out front, to the woods and ravine far out back to the right of the house, over 200 feet.
    Both ants and bees amaze me!
    I love the questions you pose, Delwyn.

  5. Ants or termites? I know termites build those little tunnels. But why there, across the road? Perhaps the queen went mad.

  6. I am fascinated by ants and their colonies. My daughter in law is considering buying an ant farm for her children - she said she'd buy me one, too... This post is another I can interpret both literally and figuratively, Delwyn. You make me ponder many questions. I'm loving your walks and your keen eye.

  7. All excellent question. Sounds like a topic for google.

  8. Just love the things you see. I think ants are programmed never to give up. It must be easier going for them to go across a road but more deadly.

  9. Ants building tunnels; spiders weaving webs; caterpillars turning into butterflies; perhaps most amazing of all: how we can take for granted the myriad miracles of life all around us.

  10. Hi Violet

    luckily it didn't stick...maybe because they are probably termites!!!

    Happy singing days

  11. Hi Tracy

    I often look at them in wonder too carrying weights many times their own...maybe they go to pump class...

    happy days

  12. Hi Martin

    It makes me think that what we regard as amazing in human development is but a tiny facet of the full wonder of the world...let alone the universe...let alone all that is....

    Happy days

  13. Hi Wanda

    as Ellen and my husband suggest they are probably termites hence the tunnels above the ground. Termites don't like the light.

    I wonder what the life span of an ant is...they must wear themselves out....

    ...and I love your additions...

    Happy days Wanda

  14. Hi Ellen

    yes I think that you are right. Husband suggested early on that they might be termites but I ignored him...I wonder why...he know more about termite than me being in the building industry...
    Perhaps they build at night...when all is quiet...

    Happy days

  15. Hi Barb

    My kids used to have ant farms and it is intriguing watching the activity...
    I'm glad that my little metaphorical musings reach you Barb...

    Happy days

  16. Hi Meri

    now why didn't I think of I go...

    Happy days

  17. Hi Maggie
    Ants are a great symbol of perseverance and diligence aren't they...Don't you wonder how they get the information...and pass along messages...who decides hen it is time for smoko...

    happy days

  18. Hi Dan
    I am sure that you are making a great impression on the young minds that you have in care. I wish I was more in-tune with nature when I was raining my kids...altho' they do think that am a bit cuckoo so perhaps it is a result of my unusual interests....

    There are many many things to fill us with awe each day...if we look at life that way...

    Happy days


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