AM I ELOI OR MORLOCK?
I put the hummingbird feeder out but two days ago, when I noticed the hummingbirds flitting around the drying coneflowers. Hamilton, New Jersey, is reaching that part of the summer where most of the red flowers have bloomed (my Bee Balm), and it is harder to find food for the little hummers that delight the eye.
And that do no work that benefits anyone but themselves and their babies.
The ants – my nemeses – have already smelled the sugar, climbed the pole, and started feasting on the sugar water not intended for them.
Hummingbirds – cute.
Ants – not cute.
Hummingbirds – deserving of treats.
Ants – NOT deserving of the drops they steal from the hummingbirds’ pit stop.
So much in this world depends on ‘cute.’
Ants work hard, toiling away with no chance of spouse or little ones of their own, caught in a permanent life of caring for someone else’s children, finding food, and losing their little lives for the good of the hive.
While hummingbirds live on their model good looks. There goes another one! I am happy! It deigned to stop and sample my free lunch.
I know a model’s life is hard, that beauty comes from semi-starvation and hours spent primping.
Don’t tell me the little bird is working hard for its babies, somewhere up in the top of the tree next door where I’ve seen them zoom at dusk. I know that. It also has a mate. It fears the predators, the feral cats my neighbor insists on feeding. But it gets to do this while being stunningly beautiful (the male. I know – I never said Nature was fair). Little Eloi.
And it gets to FLY. I would LOVE to fly unaided, as it does.
I don’t want to be an ant, lost in a dark tunnel under the earth, with millions of indistinguishable coworkers – female, but that doesn’t matter. I don’t want brief visits to the sun, laying trails for others to follow to food, having an appendage ripped off in a battle with a rival colony.
An imperfect hummingbird dies. An imperfect ant soldiers on, until it can’t.
I am an ant. Not a very good one. I’m one of those broken imperfect ones. A nice solid Morlock by training.
I would rather be a hummingbird.