The news is portraying a very sad and dark world this week. So many attacks, injuries and deaths. It feels almost overwhelming.
I left my house this morning and almost directly outside, a man and woman were having a fight in the street, her imploring him to calm down and him adamant he is going to go kick someone he was out with last night's, head in.
On the bus we have to redirect as the main road into town is closed. There are ribbons of police tape cordoning off the street, a riot van, police car and another car with its boot open. I don't know what has happened there, but you can guarantee it's not good news, it feels like the world is going mad.
I sit on the bus and think how right George Lucas was; fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to the darkside.
I'm scared and I'm angry, not angry, I'm furious at how out of control things seem to be, how it feels like we are sat in a trolley, hurtling down a hill with no way of stopping before it crashes at full speed into a brick wall.
I'm angry that the chaos feels out of my hands, how it feels like parts of my life are spinning off their axis and I am powerless to stop them.
And then I remembered the ants....
Yesterday I was weeding our front garden while the kids were eating ice creams on the front steps. Next to the steps was a large mound of soil with plants growing on it. I pulled up the plants and a very large wad of soil came with me, along with a decent swarm of red ants.
I plopped the earth back on top and told the children it was time to go inside. Then I fetched a shovel, boiled the kettle, and went out to wage war.
I dug up the entire mound of earth, pouring boiling water on the ants and their desperate attempts to rescue the eggs. I dug and dug until there was no longer a live ant in sight, and no mound of mud on my concrete path, just a tiny hole in the concrete where I can only assume the rest of the red ant nest thrives on below my house.
(I am actually itching all over as I just think about that)
When I was a kid, from the first time I ever drowned a mound of ants - I felt guilty, such senseless destruction, and why, because I didn't like them being in my way?
With red ants it was different, taught at school they would bite me I always felt vindicated in their destruction, I would tell myself "well they had it coming, they are evil".
Yesterday I was afraid of the ants biting my children.
The very idea that whenever we walk down the path to leave the house, or when Quinn shuffles her bum down the earth mound to reach the ground or whenever we sit on the step they could attack them, made me afraid.
I decided to remove them, and I became angry. How dare they build a nest on my path where we walk everyday, this is my house, what do they think they are doing! This was a personal attack on my and my children, and I began to hate them, with their swarming masses, their bites just waiting to hurt us, their disgusting egg sacks. I felt victorious in every ant I killed, every egg broiled alive, every shovel of mud removed.
Last night a hedgehog was out snuffling around their corpses, eating a few survivors, bringing it's own destruction to their lives, I felt further vindicated in my act of destruction and I was glad, glad they were gone.
This morning, as I was leaving the house I saw something that really made me pause.
I killed hundreds of ants yesterday, possibly thousands, and now, maybe fifty, were carrying dirt and rebuilding the home I had destroyed. A couple were even bringing back the eggs that had swept away down the path in the rivers of boiling water, trying to save them, trying to rebuild.
I had wrecked such immense havoc on them, and there they were, just keeping going.
I'm not sure I have the heart to kill more of them. Who am I to argue with that utter determination. And while they are hardly some higher functioning intelligence or consciousness, they sure have some guts.
I'm going to have to relocate the mound, probably to the other end of the garden, away from the path - and fill the tiny concrete hole, because the mound is in the way, but that utter destruction I wrought? It was mostly unnecessary.
These survivors, really don't deserve my rage, hatred, anger or fear. I just need to encourage them to come away from the path, it's not going to actually negatively affect my life to have them living across the yard, or round the corner from me.
I feel guilty.
There is so much going on in the world right now, that makes me want to bury my head and give up on humanity. The ants faced a massive cull to their numbers, their home, and they still rebuild.
There is so much anger in the world right now, that it can feel justified to be angry too, to be livid even at everyone, and everything, and all those opinions that don't match your own, and all the stupid people doing, saying and being things you just don't agree with. But that's not okay either.
No darkness is so all encompassing that you cannot shine a light through it.
So I have a challenge for you, I don't care if you are reading this the day I write it, when the world seems to have gone mad and lost it's way, when the angry voices are louder and seem to be the majority, or if actually its years later and you stumble upon this by accident.
But please, today do one selfless and kind thing.Hold a door open for a stranger, send a friend a text of love and support. It doesn't need to be a big act, just a small one, the only way to turn this tide of darkness, is to shine a light.
Be as mighty as the ants who carry such a small mound of dirt to help make something big together, do just one small act of good, and together these small acts can add up to something incredible.
There is so much dark, and sad and angry in the world right now, the world needs you to do something good today.