• Various/Onna Carr

The Surface of Things

Updated: Oct 27, 2019

Post by Onna Carr

My first memory of ants is at the age of three. I was wearing my Nickelodeon high-top sneakers in orange and purple. I was crouched over, watching the ants coming in and out of their hills in between the sectional slabs of the concrete sidewalk that was in front of our home. I was amazed at the small creatures, the size of the head of a pin, who were such architects and builders, whose dwellings I could only see the top of. There was something awe-inspiring about these creatures that made me stop and pause, that made me wonder, perhaps for the first time, about what lay beneath the surface of things.

This spring, Bob opened the cupboard to get our lunch plates from a residence we had not been in for a long while and found a black, moving pile of ants on dishes, and mugs. Bob called me in, and we led a full-front attack. I threw the stack of dishes with the crawling insects en-masse into a sink of water, and Bob handed me a wet towel, with which I pummeled the remaining ants, which kept coming in droves. Bob kept going back and forth to the sink with the ant-laden towel and rinsed it while I stayed on the dining room chair in my orange Mandela sneakers and throppled (throttled and pummeled) anything black that moved, and there was quite a lot. After the battle, we coated the cupboard with peppermint oil-infused water (3 cups of cold water to 1 oz. peppermint oil in a large spray bottle) and peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls. If there is a next time, my mama recommended covering our heads and hair—a very good suggestion!

After the ants had dissipated, we had lunch and celebrated our victory with slabs of chicken, gluten-free raisin bread, and raspberry tea. After lunch, we packed up the then ant-free dishes from the cupboard for our move. I had not planned on emptying out the cupboard that day, but the ants are still helping me: they are making me stop and pause, allowing me to get beyond the surface of things, and giving me an impetus to pack up what needs to be moved with greater alacrity.

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