The mighty ant brigade almost escaped my attention. Small, like sprinkles of black pepper, the ants moved in a tight serpentine line across my porch. I took one giant step over them and continued my pursuit of one of my top ten favourite things to do: harvesting seeds.
This is a relaxing activity. Walking around in idyllic sixty-degree temperatures, peering deeply into foliage for pods of seed, to collect into a opened, empty, clean milk carton and dream of next year’s flowers is a process of hope and peace. I walked among Marigolds, Cleome, Four O’clocks, and Morning Glories.
Then I saw Moonflower seed pods. What a gasp I took. Opening at night to take their light from the moon, their presence surprised me happy. These pods look a lot like brown patent leather plums, which was another pleasant surprise. Some species of Moonflower have prickly spines over all the seed pod. Their harvest requires leather gloves. But thankfully, not this species.
In my eager examination of the Moonflower seedpods, I stepped into what must have been the ants’ nest. A stinging at my toes made me look to see my shoes and feet blackened with ants. I brushed. I stamped. I hopped. I brushed some more.
Later, five tiny red specks appeared on my foot where the toes meet the foot.
But the itching and the burning were fierce. An almost overwhelming mental battle began as I determined not to scratch, not even a little. I am extra cautious to care for my feet and I refused to spread the ants’ poison. Treat and ignore were my rules. For two weeks, now, going on three, the bite places have changed for the better, but the sensations have not. Now in week three, the bites are fading and I am hopeful to be victorious and not spread their poison and irritation. I’ve thought often about the mental fortitude needed to fight such a constant battle, while awake or asleep.
The temperatures are cooler now and the ants are not to be seen. I see seeds almost everywhere I look in my flower beds. I am diligent and careful to cover myself in Skin So Soft moisturizing oil for insect reppellant.