I’m going through “stuff”. It seems a wise thing to do at my age, the age of the Wise Woman. I again dip into these words by Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her beautiful book “Gift from the Sea”.
“Woman must come of age by herself. She must find her true center alone.”
I went to Nepal to discover that or so I thought and came home both clear and confused as I left an environment of simplicity to re-enter one of complexity, and yet, each day I understand the truth of these words for men and women and all in between. Yes, we must find our true center alone, and we are also part of a community, many communities expanding outward.
This piece, written by Kathleen Yale, is from the spring issue of Orion magazine.
Across Sub-Saharan Africa, droves of shiny black Matabele ants (Megaponera analis) assemble for daily termite raids. But their appetite puts them at risk, for their prey bites back with a matched ferocity, often ripping off limbs.
In 2017 myrmecologist Erik Frank observed a group of wounded ants releasing a pheromone plea for rescue while another group of paramedic ants roamed the area. Back in the nest, these “nurse” ants licked clean the wounds of their injured – a first for the known nonhuman animal world. Untreated, the loss of a limb is usually fatal, but Frank found that 90% of tended ants survived their injuries.
From a clade that doggedly focuses on the collective and typically regards individuals as expendable comes this image of a tiny tongue cleaning a neighbor’s wound. And although this caretaking is likely less about mercy and more about group survival, an appealing sense remains: it’s easier to go after the prize with community health care at your back.