Posted Monday, Dec 9th 2013 @ 8:55

Andrew and the Grove of the Sacred Gumdrop

Andrew was a pessimist. And he didn’t much like his job. The other ants lined up to tap known resources. The fruit grove. The honey jar. They had to work together. When danger came, they would fight together. When they finished their work, they could enjoy the spoils together. Andrew spent most of his day alone. He was a scout. His job was to find new food sources for the hive; and for Mother. He didn’t like to come home empty-handed. As Mother would say, that simply wouldn’t do.

Andrew always packed light. A parcel of yarn was all he needed. Like anyone, he feared the spiders. But he wasn’t about to bog down his pack with needles just in case he ran into one. Andrew knew the land. He would rather flee than fight alone. Mother always told him that finding a source wouldn’t do anyone any good unless he could clear a path back to the hive. And you can’t very well carry a needle over rough terrain. Everyone knows that.

Andrew traversed a small parcel of new terrain each day, never forgetting the ground he had already covered. He had a strong sense of direction, and could cover charted terrain effortlessly. But there was a certain ridge Andrew had been avoiding. It was to the North, beyond a rocky cliffside; where the cold, snowmelt stream trickled into the reservoir below. Andrew had seen all the terrain to the West in a half-day’s passage. And the South, well, that was spider territory. Today, like it or not, he’d have to go North.

Well this was just great. Andrew had a premonition that this way was trouble. Now he was sitting on an isolated ridge in the middle of spider country. To the North was a steep rocky ridge. To the South, a long drop to the river below. To make matters worse, he had twisted his ankle in the fall. To make matters far worse, he could see the light reflected off of a spider’s bulbous eyeball emerging from the cracks in the wall above. To make matters really, very, quite worse, Andrew remembered that spiders could climb. Oh well. Geronimo.

Andrew barreled through the water with a thunderous splash. Actually, he’s an ant, right? So, nix that. Andrew delicately nestled into the water with a peripheral splish, only scarcely breaking its surface tension. As he drifted downstream, he muscled his miniscule frame atop a nearby leaf, and let the water do the talking. He might have looked like a tiny Jason atop a tiny Argo, if your camera was small enough, and you caught it from the right angle. Days passed, weeks maybe. It might have been hours, actually; he couldn’t see the sun from the bottom of the canyon, so his concept of time was compromised. But he sat there for a good, long, sit. When his mighty trireme shored out, he noticed an unusual, sun-touched sheen on a nearby hill. What was catching the light? He closed in to investigate. It was- no. He couldn’t believe his antennae. Granulated sugar. Could this be? The grove of the sacred gumdrop! He had only heard of it in legend: an El Dorado for ants! They couldn’t have found a worse place for it: just on the other side of spider country. Well, Andrew wasn’t about to try to secure any contraband. After all, this mission was reconnaissance. He marked an “X” on his now damp traveler’s map, and started home, whistling all the way. Mother will be so pleased.

xoxo (CW) Alex