As a child, I was always fascinated by the three large peony bushes in our front yard. It seemed as though every potential flower was covered or patrolled by ants. It was only natural for a young boy to mess with the ants. I would knock some ants off thinking I was saving the flower. Other times, I would wave a hand over the bud and watch the ants rise up and try to defend their position.
A lot of years have flown by since those days. Our new home has peony bushes in front and back and you guessed it, they are covered with ants. Through the wonders of the internet, I have been reading much to do with ants on peony bushes. I have new appreciation for the little creatures of the formicidae family.
Some theorists believe the flowers needed the ants to help with pollination, while others believe the ants somehow helped the buds break forth. The myth spreading for some time was that peony bushes would attract armies of ants into one's yard. Still others believe ants are attracted to anything sweet and peonies are covered with sweet nectar. It seems like a match made in heaven. It's supply and demand!
No matter the reason, there seems to be a mutual relationship between the flower and ant. Nectar on the bud attracts ants that benefit greatly from the sugar and the flowers are protected by the ants that are highly territorial and will protect their sugar!
Better understanding can lead to admiration and I for one admire ants more than ever. I still don't like to see ants in my kitchen or crawling across the basement floor, but all in all I think the ant is an amazing creature. They are tireless, relentless, creative, and self-sufficient. They rely on other things for survival yet are proactive in procuring whatever they need to survive. I just love their work ethic. Funny, they probably don't understand the idea of a 'work ethic' they just know how to thrive.
Today, a day of national sadness, is a day we remember the men and women who died serving our country. Their willingness to serve the USA and protect our liberty was something they wanted to do, chose to do, or were told to do. They did it. They did not equivocate or pass it off to another, they stepped forward and embraced their duty. The defended, protected, and died. We pause to remember those who left on assignment and never returned. A gentle 'thank you' doesn't seem adequate for their sacrifice. Thanking the families who lost loved ones seems a bit hollow.
Perhaps the best way to spend Memorial Day is in resolving to live in such a way that the lives of fallen soldiers will never have been in vain. Live with intention and purpose. Drink in freedom and breath out gratitude. That will have made their sacrifice worth it.
"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or
ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8, NIV)