Friday, September 07, 2007

What Goes Around Comes Around

When I was a young girl, around eight-years-old, I did some pretty ridiculous things. I’ll never forget going to my grandmother’s house everyday after school. My mama and I had to go pick up my little sister, Paula, before heading home. My mama would hop out the car and head to the front door of the house. She couldn’t wait to see her beautiful baby girl. But I, on the other hand, could wait. I had more pressing business than to see my little sister. I would jump out the dingy, gray, 1978 Thunderbird and run up the side of the Easter egg yellow, wood framed house until I found the sea of grass that extended behind the house. I could always find some kind of interesting insect to observe and then kill. I don’t know why I got a kick of watching them in their habitat, and then positioning my small, eight year old foot, that I’m sure was like the size of King Kong’s foot to the tiny insect, right over their frail bodies. Without any hesitation my foot came crashing down like the twin towers, taking the insect as my helpless victim.

In particular, Ant beds always intrigued me. When I was looking for an insect to experiment with, I would scan my grandmother’s huge, grassy backyard. I was always amazed when a mountain of dirt was methodically erected overnight by a colony of diligent ants. What would I do? Well, I hate to admit it. I would find the biggest stick that had torn away from one of the three towering, pecan trees, and then I would walk over to the hill of dirt, study the insects’ architectural perfection, and bury my stick right in the epicenter of the ant’s well-crafted high-rise. Then I would start stirring the molded dirt until it would loosen and fall apart. I would look down and see more red than I would brown. Millions of ants would come pouring out of the terrorized community. Those terrified, yet angry citizens of the now destroyed bed would start charging with their red uniforms on, ready to save their families and ready to annihilate whatever has disrupted their utopia. As soon as the ants had covered the lower half of the stick, I would drop the stick and run back up the side of the house until I made it to the front yard. I don’t know why I would run so fast and so far away. I guess I couldn’t watch the agony continue.

Every summer my father would load us into a rented Lincoln Towncar and make the journey from Texas to Louisiana. I couldn’t wait to get to my aunt’s house. She resided in a nice home in rural Louisiana. You could find all kinds of insects to bother in her yard. As soon as we pulled up to my aunt’s house, I popped open the door and jumped out of the blue, luxury car. Then suddenly, I realized that I didn’t leap into grass. I looked down and both of my feet were buried in the widest, tallest ant bed that I had ever seen. My toasted brown skin was being quickly painted with red, red ants that is. The ants were charging up my legs and approaching my knees. Then suddenly, my brain was alerted of the many bites I was receiving. Pain ripped through my small body. I screamed so loud, not only did my family jump out the car to see what was wrong, everyone in my aunt’s house ran out to see who was responsible for the high pitched, horror film screams.

My father swept me up under my arms and ran me over to the side of the house where the water hose was. He started spraying water on me to make the ants get off of me. My aunt ran out of the house with a towel. She started knocking the angry ants off of my body. By this time, ants were exploring and biting my entire body. The ants were biting my stomach, back, neck, ears, lips, and even my scalp. My mother and my aunt rushed me in the house and stripped the infested clothes off of me. My aunt ordered my cousin to fill the bathtub with water and a dash of alcohol. Once the tub was full of the water, my mother and aunt baptized me in the lukewarm water. The remainder of the ants that had been successfully holding on to my body were now floating and drowning in the tub of water. My aunt got a cup and started scooping them up and pouring them into the toilet.

The ants’ war against me had stopped, but the pain continued. My body felt like someone had poured gasoline on me and threw a match my way. I now understood why they called those little red ants, fire ants. My mother and aunt nursed me back to my normal self. They rubbed alcohol on my bumpy body four times a day for a few days.

After a few days, I was better. Evidence of the ants' victory was going away, but my respect for the ants and nature had expanded greatly. I thought about those ants that I tortured so often in my grandma’s backyard back in Texas. Amazingly enough, their distant relatives in Louisiana taught me a lesson about life, respect, and cohabitation.

I learned to respect everyone and everything that resided in our world’s community. I made a vow that I would never exert my power over anyone or anything that I thought was less powerful than me. I learned to never disrupt anyone or anything’s happiness. I also learned that what goes around comes around. The memory of the million of ants that were covering my body helped me remember those invaluable life lessons.

Note to my readers: This blog entry was not about my blindness inparticular. However, it is a snapshot of one of the lessons I was able to learn when I could see. (Boy, am I thankful that I got a chance to see when I was a kid.) Another reason why I wanted to post it is plain and simple... I like the above essay. And I wanted to share.

Well, you good people have a beautiful day. I hope and pray that you find satisfaction and peace in this troubling world.

Love and peace,

Angie Braden,
Former Ant Bully

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