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Just An Ant
By Gary Loewenthal, Vegan Bake Sale
With appreciation to my friend Rhonda, who is kind to ants and other creatures.
Today on my way to work, as I stopped by the little drive-through coffee place, I noticed an ant on my pants leg. He was waving his front legs like mad, but not moving. He seemed to be stuck — maybe he was caught on an errant thread loop, or maybe there was something sticky on my pants or on his hindquarters. Anyway, the little guy flailed his front limbs wildly, but try as he might, he could not loosen himself.
I felt sorry for him and wanted to help him out. I moved the car to an out-of-the-way corner of the parking lot. I tried pulling the section of my pants on which he was stuck, hoping that would get rid of any crease or fold that might be trapping him, or dislodge a sticker pinning him down. No luck. I moved one hand over to him, so his front legs could have something on which to grip. He tried crawling onto my hand — still he couldn't budge. I took a dollar bill out of my pocket, and very carefully tried to wedge it between the ant and my pants, taking care not to harm him. For several minutes this went on, me trying one thing after another, the ant struggling mightily to break free and climb onto my hand.
I was beginning to lose hope, when all of a sudden — and I suppose with one last surge — he pulled himself loose from my pants and onto my hand. Finally he was free! But the ordeal must have been too much for him. He crawled around for less than a minute and then collapsed. He was in my palm.
I suppose most people would think, "He was just an ant." But to this guy, there was no such thing as just an ant. To him, being an ant was cool; it was everything. I would hope that if I was in a land of highly advanced giants, where to them I looked just like a tiny ant, they would help me if I was in trouble; I would hope that if I caught my leg on something and couldn't move, they wouldn't just crush me.
This ant had a goal, for which he expended every ounce of energy: to be free. And by God, he did it. We did it! He and I, working together. Before he died, he was free.
I got out of the car, walked to the edge of the parking lot, and set him down in the grass. I figured that's where he'd want to be.
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