The leaf: his raison d’être
Today, I watched as a worker ant struggled to get through a tiny hole in the fly screen.
He was carrying part of a leaf, it was bigger than he was.
All around him other ants toiled with their loads, following one another in a seemingly endless line of leaves and ants.
Fixed on their purpose, they journeyed on; no one of them broke ranks except the little ant at the fly screen.
He pushed and pulled, trying different angles and approaches; but he just could not get the leaf to go through.
Because he would not let go of the leaf, he could not get any further.
I wondered how he was going to resolve his dilemma. He wanted to get to the other side of the screen but he did not want to let go of his leaf.
This leaf was all he had, his only treasure. How could he possibly let it go? What would be the point of being on the other side of the screen if he did not have his leaf?
Who was he without his life’s purpose?
After a long while, the ant seemed to pause. He put down the leaf in the dust and approached the screen.
The ant tentatively poked his antennae through the hole to see what was on the other side.
He pulled back from the screen and returned to his leaf. He moved it one more time towards the screen, as if willing it to go through on its own.
Once more he stepped away from the leaf and returned to the screen. He poked his antennae, then his head, his thorax and finally his abdomen through the hole.
Now fully on the other side of the screen, he gazed wistfully at his beloved leaf; his one possession, his companion, his status symbol, his raison d’être – the leaf.
Without warning, a small breath of wind spirited the leaf away as the ant looked on.
He turned away from the space that once was his leaf (his very life) and studied his new surroundings.
The ant found himself in the shade of a beautiful plant that was green, lush and thrumming with activity.
He saw other ants, free from their leaf-burdens, traveling up and down the stalks of the plant.
Not one of them was traveling behind another, they walked side by side, or on their own.
Some ants even traced lazy spirals on the leaves as they expressed themselves.
This is what the little ant knew was waiting for him. This was his chance to be his authentic self.
In order to become real he had to stop being part of another’s reality.
By letting go of his old behaviour, he received more than he could have imagined.
By stepping out of the line, he became the master of his own path.
Today, I learnt from an ant.
I am shedding my leaf and pushing through to other side.
Why don’t you join me? I hear it is lovely over there.
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