Monday, May 12, 2008


About twenty years ago, back in the 1980s, we put a gray brick paver sidewalk in front of our house. We neatly lined it with untreated timber, and the effect was a rustic-classy sidewalk that really led nowhere but looked nice in a 1980s sort of way.

Then the evil ants took over. The brick pavers were anchored in a sand base that the ants decided was home. Year after year, season after season, little hills of sand appeared in the cracks between the pavers as the ants built their underground tunnels. I poured ant poison on their cursed mounds; I swept away their devil ant hills.

We would go on vacation for a couple of weeks and when we got back, there would be ten, twenty, thirty new ant piles. I tried ant sprays, ant traps, ant sticky Tero liquids—but nothing worked. The poison just made them stronger as they became immune to all known insecticides on earth. In the twenty years the ants and I fought for dominion, they lowered the brick pavers by two inches. I know that for a fact because the timbers stayed in place. But the brick pavers just kept sinking and sinking as I swept away sand. The sidewalk is fifteen feet long, I am 5’4” tall, and an ant is 1/16 of a centimeter long—but they continued to win the battle.

Last summer, we dug up all the 1980s brick pavers and spent approximately . . . I was going to say a dollar amount, but I forgot what we spent. Anyway, we put in a brand new expensive aggregate sidewalk. It is solid; it is loaded with rocks. It has a waterproof, earthquake-proof, atomic-bomb-proof high-gloss sealer on it. At last, I thought, I am lord and master of my own sidewalk! It was a sleek and shiny fortress, an aggregate moat around the front of our house.

Guess what I saw yesterday? Four perfectly symmetrical ant hills on a small, infinitesimal atom-sized crack on the edge of the aggregate sidewalk.

Lord, someday I’d like to be as persistent as a sidewalk ant.

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