Tiny Little Things
Weekly Reading Topic for July 4, 2020:
Well, good morning, love! I just opened a Reading for you, my newsletter subscribers and here’s what I heard in answer to the following:
What do my readers most need to hear this weekend? What is the most important message to send to my beloved readers?
The answer was: “tiny little things.”
I feel like I must apologize. After taking two weeks off to rest and experience my own peace, I feel a little rusty and topsy turvy. I hope this reading isn’t too swarmy — the topic certainly is!
What follows is your weekly reading, dear one.
Weekly Reading │ Tiny Little Things
Q: What do we need to know about “tiny little things?”
A: Sometimes we feel like tiny little things, insignificant and immaterial and intensely meaningless. This can feel like one of those times, when there is so much change in the world, so much happening, and it’s hard to track it all, and not all of it applies to all of us, and so we feel like Wow … Do I Even Matter? Can I Make a Difference?
Last week I thought I had termites. We took a box of sardines out of the pantry, and ooh, it was crawling with tiny little things. We knocked the box on our porch railing and watched them scatter, swarming, trying to figure out where their dark nest had gone.
Jim opened the box and found a queen, and knocked her off the sill, and we took photos of these tiny little things racing around our railing, desperate to re-orient themselves and care for their queen now so far below.
They were so, so tiny, dear ones. As I watched them move I could barely see them. And I commented on how these little ants were super small, and I could hardly see them, and Jim said “well, they’re white, they barely register against the paint.”
And I said “There are no white ants” [because I heard that somewhere sometime] and then “wait, the only white ‘ants’ are actually termites,” and we both panicked because Termites Are a Problem in Hawaii and maybe we had found a nest of termites.
In our pantry. Ugh.
So I took photos with my phone, and I took videos, too, because these tiny little things moved so fast they looked like white smears in stills.
I emailed them to an exterminator and waited for the verdict, and it took days for them to get back to me, and in the meantime we thought about these tiny little things and listened at night to see if we heard thudding in our walls, or little crunching sounds.
We watched the floors and the sills and lids of boxes in the pantry for little piles of dust.
And as we watched, and waited for the word, I searched online. Are these tiny little things weird ants? Or are they termites?
And if they are termites, how do I live in a house that needs massive extermination?
Answer: I don’t. I take my things and move them out, and don’t move back in until I have let the poison dissipate if it ever does.
These tiny little things had completely taken over my world. I looked for the ‘spiritual meaning’ behind termites and found that in many parts of Asia, termite mounds are thought to be the homes of dead souls, built by animals that work tirelessly for each other. They are considered blessings, great and mighty animals that construct heaven on earth.
Oh, and that termites don’t have a queen, and no king, either. They all work together to build grand cathedrals for themselves, for each other, and finally for the souls of the dead who need a home in the afterlife.
And E.O. Wilson, the great man of science Who Knows Things, thought termites were wonderful superorganisms!
So Jim and I pledged to each other to work even more as a team, as a Tireless Pair. Like a eusocial superorganism, and maybe if we learned the lesson the termites came to teach, we would not have to have termites in our house.
Crossing fingers, of course, because superstitious thinking always is accompanied by a physical gesture.
And then I heard back from the exterminator. These are not termites, she told me. These are most likely ghost ants, tiny CLEAR (not white) ants that a little ant bait can encourage to leave my home.
And just like that, the tiny little things became Not So Scary. They were just very swarmy. Oh, and that probably WAS a queen, after all, what Jim knocked off the railing. [We had sort of forgotten about her in our panic, just like we all forget facts when we are scared.]
And oh, I was reminded again by E.O. Wilson: humans, ants, termites, and bees are all “eusocial” beings, extremely social animals that will sacrifice themselves for the sake of not just their children, but for total strangers, as well.
Most species on the planet are not as altruistic as ants, termites, and humans.
And so the circle was complete. I did not have tiny little things that are termites, I had tiny little things that are Very Clear Ants.
Insight: I Am an Ant, As Are We All, We Are A Nation of Ants Founded By Termites
I am a tiny little thing that panics when I lose my orientation when change comes.
And I, too, am willing to make great sacrifices for the sake of my fellow humans.
And so I say to you, this Fourth of July Weekend, when we celebrate the birthday of the idea of America, that we are all, maybe, tiny little things, yes. Maybe that is what we have been yearning for ever since that first July 4th. To care for each other, without king, without queen, to build a great cathedral for the souls to come, the generations yet unborn.
And today, in this time of profound change, in this eclipse weekend when we pause to celebrate and remember and choose, somewhere, our forefathers and foremothers may be living in their great termite mounds, watching us running around, swarming, trying to rebuild our home after it’s been destroyed by forces well beyond our individual control, and they maybe worrying about us, too.
And we have a decision to make, on this Full Moon and lunar eclipse, on the birthday of America: who are we?
Ghost Ants just looking for Another Nice Dark Place to Nest and Reproduce More of the Same, worshiping a fat, vulnerable, lazy queen?
Or Termites, sorting out the deadwood and transforming it into A Cathedral for Those Who Need a New Home?
Can we keep hiding from our own eusocial natures? Will it work?
I don’t know what the answer should be, or what we will decide as a collectivity.
But this weekend, I can feel in my bones, we choose. Do we lean into our differences? Or do we lean into our similarities? Our forefathers and foremothers knew we would live different lives than they would, and they assumed the world would be wide and changed, and we would change with it.
And change can make tiny little things like us feel scared. Take our sardine box and knock it about, and fling our queen off the railing, and we run around and panic.
But our forefathers and foremothers are watching, and they are hoping we get this message:
Even if you are a tiny little thing you are way more important than you could possibly know.
And your decisions matter.
The power to choose is our birthright, and not choosing is, as wise people say, still making a choice.
So make a choice you can look back on ten years from now and be proud of it. Make a choice that our grandchildren and their grandchildren will take pride in.
Be kind to yourself, your loved ones, your neighbors, your community, your nation. It matters.
We Decide. We the People. The choice may not be as clear to you as a ghost ant, but I pledge, I will work like a termite to give you great cathedral to live in.
Happy Fourth! Play soothing music for the dogs, and don’t blow off any fingers.
I am always here to serve in any way I can.
Much Love to You,
PS: A perfect pair of movies to watch this weekend: Hamilton the Movie and Of Ants and Men on PBS.
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