03 June 2013

ants and collaboration

So I was warned by the bookshop owner at Calamus Books in Boston that reading Eminent outlaws by Christopher Bram would lead to a list of books to read. No problem. I went up to Herrick Library this afternoon to get Just above my head, the last novel of James Baldwin. I left with three other books as well: Prater Violet by Christopher Isherwood; The dream of Arcadia: American writers and artists in Italy, 1760-1915 by Van Wyck Books; and Fictions of masculinity: crossing cultures, crossing sexualities, edited by Peter F. Murphy. On leaving the library, I was meandering home in the lovely but cool sunshine when I spotted three ants pushing along a one-inch long piece of something. I couldn't tell if the object was a twig or perhaps a caterpillar carcass. The two guys at the ends were walking sideways and the guy in the middle was walking backwards, and they were moving at a good clip. When they got to the edge of the sidewalk, they shifted to moving the object lengthwise instead of broadside. Under this blade, over those blades of grass. Quite amazing how fast they were progressing even in the grass. The grass appeared rather alive with ants so perhaps more were assisting in the more difficult territory.

Walking on, I ran into Lily and told her about the amazing ant show and she said she'd just been watching a video about ants and emergence, about collaboration. A search on Google for "ants emergence" will get you a bunch of responses so I'm not sure what exactly she was watching or reading. Still, it was amazing that we were both enthralled at the moment about the great collaboratory of the ants.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Great collaboratory of the ants" is a very nice phrase indeed, Sherman.