The end of the world — and ants


Last updated 7/19/2022 at Noon

Our new home was recently visited by teeny tiny ants. A neglected mound of construction dirt outside our kitchen became the ants’ new happy habitat, with an invisible trail that led them straight inside. While I enjoy most of our neighborhood critters, ants that forage for toaster crumbs on my countertops rank very low on my list. In my efforts to evacuate the pesky interlopers without nasty toxins, I stumbled across something those little buggers really hate. Dawn liquid dish soap. Pour a bit on a paper towel, give them a wipe, and you not only instantly exterminate them, your countertops will sparkle. But I digress. This isn’t a dish-soap ad.

In my war on ants, I soon discovered I could lasso a large invading herd in a circle of blue dish soap. It kept them contained and confined — unable to escape behind canisters and such. So early one morning, I corralled about fifty pesky pests. Pleased with my neat little round-up, I just stood and watched the activities within the thin blue fence-line. Now I’m no entomologist, but for some reason I became fascinated by the captured ants’ behaviors.

A number of them ran straight into the dish soap and instantly died.

A few remained alone, frozen in place, wringing their tiny hands as if they knew the end was nigh.

The largest group was clumped together in a black blob.

I couldn’t tell if they were trying to protect the herd, or just desperately hoping to die together ...

you know how misery loves company.

The most active ants were a couple of highly motivated loners who rushed busily about, going from group to group, sometimes sniffing the deadly blue line before racing back to inform others of impending disaster.

Others huddled in small social gatherings of three or four, moving about a bit, looking around then pausing as if to discuss the problem with their friends, perhaps making a plan.

To me they seemed the happiest of the captives.

As I watched the teeny tiny ants, I thought about people, community, the world ...

and even God.

Comparing people to ants, I considered how, when faced with impending disaster, some people rush straight toward the danger.

But without plan or forethought, they’re destined to perish.

Meanwhile others freeze in frightened isolation — a lonely sort of demise.

Always there will be the multitudes who frantically flock together.

Perhaps they believe there’s safety in numbers, but mob mentality can quickly turn lethal.

I do admire those few brave loners who seek out answers and solutions—not only for themselves but to help others too.

We definitely need good leadership.

But I suppose I’d be in the group that takes comfort in connecting with friends, family, neighbors — helping and encouraging one another, hoping for survival.

Even if we don’t make it, at least we’ll have each other.

So why had I gotten so philosophical about ants? Was it because I hadn’t had my coffee? Or could I blame it on Jim Cornelius? Jim recommended Peter Zeihan a few months ago and I’d just read Peter’s latest book (“The End of the World is Just the Beginning”).

According to Mr. Zeihan (and I’m not arguing) the world as we know it (or knew it) is just about over.

Our way of life is about to go through a major overhaul — and not for the better.

I guess Peter is like one of those energizer ants racing about trying to warn everyone.

His book perceptively explains how globalization is dying; how superpowers are about to radically change; and how the world’s economy is doomed.

Not only that, but pirates will take over the high seas.

And, oh yeah, we all should’ve had more babies.

Baby boomers are busted.

Honestly, I’m not poking fun — I actually respect Zeihan’s incredible breadth of knowledge and his ability to communicate it.

His predictions actually make sense in a mind-blowing sort of way.

And for some reason, the ants nearing demise reminded me of Peter’s prediction that our world is on the cusp of a major change. Like the ants, we will all react differently to what may feel like impending doom — or perhaps simply the end of a comfortable era. Some will isolate in fear, some will flock to dysfunctional urban blight. Hopefully most of us will be somewhere in between — helping and caring for loved ones and neighbors. It makes me very thankful to live in a small, caring town like Sisters. Because it seems certain, we will all need community more than ever to get through tough transitions. We will need to work together.

But back to my corralled ants — and my mention of God. My teeny tiny ants were perplexed by their hopeless predicament. They were doomed. There was only one hope for them. Only one person who could spare their little lives that morning. And honestly, if one single ant had raised a tiny hand and spoken up and begged for mercy, I would’ve scooped them all into a glass jar (well, after scraping myself off the floor from shock), and I’d have relocated them elsewhere. But ants don’t talk to humans, and so they went on to their happy hunting ground ... maybe some big crumb-filled kitchen in the sky.

Fortunately, we have a much more merciful God. He hears us when we cry for help. He listens and responds. So that’s the rest of my go-to plan when times get tough. And I’m no stranger when it comes to begging God for help in rough patches. I’ve had lots of practice! And help has always come. My Creator never let me down.


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