Friday, September 17, 2010

The Grasshopper and the Ants

The Ant and the Grasshopper (Project Gutenberg etext 19994)

The fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper, is attributed to Aesop. The grasshopper frolicked and had much merriment all summer while the ants kept busy preparing for winter. The moral of the story is diligence and preparation. On the other hand it has often being quoted that “Some folks are so busy laying up for a rainy day that they cannot enjoy good weather”.

This grasshopper was an unexpected guest. He landed on the computer table right in front of me, basking in the limelight (the colourful light is from the monitor) instead of working. Tsk, tsk ... But as Mark Twain famously said, “Diligence is a good thing, but taking things easy is much more restful”

He was a teeny weeny thingy but has a big apetite for city lights and stayed motionless in the same spot, a perfect model for my shutterbugging. This vainglory trait in him proved to be his undoing as he finally ended up as a delightful mid-nite snack for Pickles the hedgehog. Pickles was extremely pleased to have this delicacy which was such a welcome change from her usual sanitised diet of hedgy or canine food pellets.
A tinge of guilt crossed me as I tossed him into Pickles 's food platter but then I rationalised that in the big scheme of things, the law of the jungle, "survival of the fittest" rules. To survive he should have the gumption to get out of the predicament. There was a big window of opportunity since at the time Pickles was still catching up on her beauty sleep.

Tabernaemontana orientalis

On the other hand, the ants were busy gathering and storing in preparation for a rainy day. A simple lesson but yet so insightful. The Gen Y born with silver spoons in their mouths should heed this. I observe that most of them live like they is no tomorrow. As the Greek Philosopher Aristotle observed way back in 300 BC, and still very relevant today, "The young have exalted notions, because they have not been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things—and that means having exalted notions."

Some like the nectar and pollen of the whites while others prefer the reds (I can't identify this flower) Whatever their choice there is plenty for them in my little garden of Eden.

Aechmea Chantinii (Bromeliad)
Bigger, darker and aggressive-looking ants tend to seek out the more flamboyant blooms of the bromeliad to hoard up on their food supplies. These showy flowers last for months and always bring a bright spot of colour to the garden. The variegated leaves are thick but edged with viscious thorns, I suppose as a form of protection for its precious bounty. Propagation is simple enough; I started off with one but now there is a huge bunch of them.

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