All In A Day’s Work
“Why mommy, why must we work so hard? I’m awful tired. Can’t we rest?”
Her mother never said a word. She was trying to move her heavy load down the path by herself and had no time to talk. The other workers bustled by as if she meant nothing, and even her child had her own burden to bear.
The sun was hot and the ground burned under there bare feet. No rain in sight, yet they all worked franticly with the coming anticipation of the wet season. To add to their woes a soldier prodded them to work faster, because he knew that the enemy could soon appear and destroy all their hard work. No one dared to look back.
The child wanted to explore new horizons, and get off the well-worn path of safety the others embraced. “Mommy please, I must rest a while.” Silence told her to keep moving; she did what she was told even without her mother’s words.
The day seemed long and arduous, but at least the sun, now being shaded by a small cloud, was less intense. A hint of sweet nectar graced the air as they passed the big tree that could be seen forever across the great expanse of the field, and it stood as a landmark so no one should loose their way. The smell was not so foreign to them, and they were tempted to climb the tree and enjoy the fruit of the bee’s labor, but that would be wrong. The fields were to each a path of life, hard, but necessary to there existence.
“We’re almost there!” spoke the child.
The legs of the little one ached. Each of her steps was two of the adults. The small cloud that covered the sun was now more ominous than before, and even the child could detect the odor of fresh rain approaching.
Water could mean there death if flash flooding raced across the land. The field grass now bent in the wind as sundown shadows threatened to overtake the day. The last hill was now in sight. It marked the day’s journey, and their trek was now close at hand. The excited child spoke to her mother with prodding words of encouragement.
“You can do it mommy… I know you can… push it, pull it, whatever it takes!”
A raindrop hit the grass at the child’s feet, and panic overcame her face.
“Mommy!” the child screamed.
She turned and ran up the hill to drop off her workload at the homestead, then rushed back to help her mother. Working now in tandem they pushed and pulled as the rains fell about them. Ever so slowly they finely brought the heavy load to the opening of their homestead, but it was too large to fit into the mouth of the dwelling place. Others came to the rescue and dug away until the food source was secure, and the mother and child sealed the opening shut behind them.
The mother and child went to a neutral place within the dwelling area to rest.
“Why mommy, why must we work so hard?”
The mother stroked the child’s head with her left antenna.
“Because, we’re ants, and we must work while work can be done. You’ll see, there will be plenty of time to rest during the winter, child.”
The child kept close to her mother and fell into a deep, sound sleep. She dreamt of the bee’s sweet honey.
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