I have a new border where being partially shaded, I imagine Digitalis and native Geraniums running amok – next year. This year I’ve sown Lupinus angustifolius, Medicago sativa and Fagopyrum esculentum as green manures to improve water retention. They are supposed to grow quite rapidly and the flowers are supposed to be attractive to pollinators too. Some of the Lupins have sort of withered and there are a few small mounds that are suggestive of moles. I can’t begrudge the moles. Whilst studying this plot today, I saw what at first appeared to be a slug and was about to find something to transfer it to the bird feeders. But on closer inspection, it turned out to be this beetle shell. I’ve had to remove some bugs from indoors recently that were about this size but I didn’t put them over here. This particular location is adjacent to the wild section of the garden – could be dragons over there 😉 Anyway, I watched the ants scurrying around, manouvering this debris for some minutes and tried to get a clear image of them. What possible use could they have for this? What ever the intention, they were very determined and eventually a third ant joined to assist hurrying the process. The whole time watching them was very absorbing. The seedlings in the image are ‘just weeds’ that I’m allowing to grow to find out what they will become; sometimes it is a struggle to leave them be.
Ants have been used as metaphor for almost everything it seems, admired for their industriousness and anthropomorphised for their forward planning skills. It is very human to view the world in human terms and project human attributes onto non-human species, how else could we possibly understand anything without reframing these ‘others’ in terms we can comprehend. But all the same, these creatures found this carapace so there is some awareness of their environment and they had some purpose for this precious cargo. They may have had some awareness of being observed as they were joined by the third ant and then made faster progress, perhaps they anticipated they could lose their prize. But other than this they were unconcerned by my presence, seemingly. Perhaps it is the nature of this ant species to be resolved in their purpose regardless of all other factors. Who can tell? It isn’t always necessary to know all the answers. Live and let live.