Ants and Lightning

The virus struck like lightning: a bright flash ushered in by booming thunder.

Lightning ignited fire in their veins, and in this burning fever brewed insanity. There was savagery. Pandemonium, panic, self-preservation. Teeth bared over grocery store scraps. Tickled throats shunned on trains. Fingers pointed at easy scapegoats. Deaf ears of leaders who would rather they ate themselves.

But also like lightning, as quickly as chaos had exploded, was it extinguished. The seared, smoking earth looked upon itself and finally saw quiet. Streets emptied, waters ran clear, air became crisp, sky hues tinted blue.

And what of the ants? Eyes looked up from laps to meet smiles at bus stops. Conversations stretched from cold monosyllables to warm melodies. They retreated. Trapped by four walls, forced to stare into mirrors for days on end, forced to care about each other. It was unnatural at first. The restlessness of it all. Ants must cram in hubs to build for queens; what is the nature of the solitary ant? “Leisure” was a foreign word on their tongues.

And what of their world? Amongst the smouldering coals, the ants saw that the building of great colonies was obsolete. The most essential jobs turned out to be the least valued: drivers, carers, nurses, cleaners, shop clerks, tradespeople. They began to question it all. What would happen if we relinquished ambition to the earth? Turned over all biases and snobbery to the seas and started over? What would happen if in this ash we sowed new seeds and built the hive for ourselves? Who’s to say we could not live like this every day?

It was a lesson. The flood had not done the trick, so fire had become the only option. From their scorched minds, imagination grew. And so it was done.

But remember:

that lightning cannot strike the same place twice, is a myth.

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