Ants Of A New Day

A middle-aged Hispanic woman walked across a parking lot and announced to her friend with a stroller, “I don’t move so fast anymore.” She was on her way to rehab, with a cane, a bandaged knee, and a smile. As the two approached the stairs leading down to the office building, the woman with the limp said, “Oh no, there’s stairs.”

“Well, we can go around to the front of the building if you want.” Said the woman with the stroller. “It’ll be better in the long run, even if it takes you a little while to get there.”

“No, I think I’ll be ok with these stairs. Nancy told me it would be beneficial if I pushed myself to flex my knee a little each day. I’ll just go a little slower than you, but I’ll catch up.”

So the woman with the stroller picked her child up and swiftly, like she had numerous times before, collapsed the stroller with one hand, and headed down the stairs. Upon reaching the bottom she looked up at her hobbled friend and asked if she was sure she wanted to try the stairs.

“I’ll be fine.”

The first step was tough, but she seemed to make it all right. “Only 7 more”, she thought to herself as she lifted her leg to take another awkward step down.

Four steps into the trip, and middle-aged woman began to stumble. Her ankle caught the ledge of fifth step, and sent her tumbling the final three, to the ground below. She landed on her ass, which was good because the good lord had given her extra padding there.

Slowly she got back up, using her cane for support. Her hope was damaged more than her any portion of her body. “I thought I could do it.” She said under her breath.

Still smiling, she got up, shook herself off, and turned to head for the complex door. Her friend’s mouth gaped as she watched this remarkable woman pick herself up once again. “Are you ok?”

“Yes Hun, I’ve grown used to tumble…” the woman’s words stopped short.

Lying on the ground at her feet was a sparrow. The woman had crushed it during the fall.

Her smile reversed itself when she saw the little bird lying there. She looked at her friend, sighed, and was silent as the two walked into the building.

The bird will remain there, lifeless, for hours. The heat will slowly begin to rot the flesh as the bird dries in the sun. Hundreds of administrative assistants, marketing gurus, sales-men, clients, police officers, maintenance workers and executives will walk to and from their cars and pass by the dead bird. Not a single one of them will notice.

The ants will notice though, and they will come to slowly carry the bird away. Piece by piece they will feed, removing what they need before the end of the day. They will take what their little bodies can carry, down into the earth to feed to their queen. Upon completion, they will curl up and die inside their maze of earth. The ants of the new day will then carry what they can of their ancestors, to a new queen, who will rejoice in their flesh.

The Hispanic woman will come back several times for rehab, and slowly begin to become more adept at climbing that set of stairs. She will not kill another bird.

Her friend and the stroller will not return with her.

The little girl in the stroller will become very fond of birds.