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Power in Numbers

I had a super busy day that included a bit of unexpected drama. Even though events required me to disregard what I planned for the day, I felt like I made a positive contribution to the bigger picture. I left work feeling good about the role that I played so it all seemed worth it.

As I waited for Lyle to come out of his office, I decided that a walk offered a great way to unwind. I wandered past these ants, and I couldn’t help but take a look at their activity. I love watching ants – from a distance anyway. Years ago I sat in the middle of a little ant party like the one pictured, and I nearly ripped off all my clothes in the middle of my backyard! Ants take their work very seriously, and they don’t much appreciate adding a chubby bum to the equation!
Today, however, involved a different scenario so I took a moment to watch these little beasts scurry. My basic knowledge of ants comes from Pixar and Disney, which I know will not get me quoted in Scientific American. Whether I learned it in the movies or in fifth-grade science, I do know that every ant has a job, and the needs of the colony outweigh the individual.

I wonder if there is ever any dissension among the group. Is there some loud mouth drone grumbling that he doesn’t want to move the dirt, but he is more than willing to pull the legs off of the dead grasshopper laying on the sidewalk? I think they may be born into the jobs they will perform the rest of their lives.

I’m not too sure I would like being predestined to push around dirt the rest of my life and I definitely don’t want to give up my individual rights. I’m too opinionated to do as I’m told FOREVER without question; however, this group dynamic does have its merit. I believe that we benefit from other people in our lives, and I certainly don’t want to march through this life alone. I may survive a solitary existence, but to what end?

I like the interaction I have with others; well, for the most part anyway. I also like the feeling I get when I am part of a collaborative effort – bigger than you or me. I like to lend a hand for the greater good, and I find that when I allow myself to feel vulnerable and ask for help, I like that too. What we can achieve as individuals is nothing compared to what we can accomplish together.

One of the things that keeps me sane (and at a healthy weight), is that I no longer feel like I am all alone in the process. I reach out to others for support, and I share what works for me. I think this keeps me grounded and reminds me to stay focused on the big picture. I can give and receive, which leaves me feeling satisfied.

It intrigued me to squat down and watch these ants. I wondered what was beneath the frenzy. Had someone thrown a piece of food out the window or was there a dead critter under this sea of brown? It doesn’t really matter because they were intent on a single goal, and I have a feeling that they had power in their numbers!


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