“One day when I went out to my wood-pile, or rather my pile of stumps, I observed two large ants, the one red, the other much larger, nearly half an inch long, and black, fiercely contending with one another. Having once got hold they never let go, but struggled and wrestled and rolled on the chips incessantly. Looking farther, I was surprised to find that the chips were covered with such combatants, that it was not a duellum, but a bellum, a war between two races of ants, the red always pitted against the black, and frequently two red ones to one black. The legions of these Myrmidons covered all the hills and vales in my wood-yard, and the ground was already strewn with the dead and dying, both red and black. It was the only battle which I have ever witnessed, the only battle-field I ever trod while the battle was raging; internecine war; the red republicans on the one hand, and the black imperialists on the other. On every side they were engaged in deadly combat, yet without any noise that I could hear, and human soldiers never fought so resolutely.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
I was out moving around the city with my bicycle and a DART pass. I had my tablet in a backpack and decided to head downtown and see if there was anything interesting on my Love Lock USB Dead Drop. The water in the Trinity was up, but I didn’t know how high it was on that day – so I thought I’d at least give it a shot.
Crossing the river on the DART train I looked out and saw the Santa Fe Trestle trail snaking its way across and a few inches above the water – so it looked like I could make the crossing. I started to ride down from the Corinth train station and soon I was on a narrow strip of concrete with water all around.
Finally, though, I reached a spot where the water was coursing over the pavement. I’m not an idiot, I knew it was time to head back. I did get off my bike and fished out my camera for some flood shots.
Concentrating on the water and my camera I didn’t notice one important fact. All the fire ants from across the vast river bottom plain had been forced up onto the narrow strip of trail. At my feet they were boiling in a thick red mass.
If you know anything about Texas – you know that fire ants will swarm you and then when one bites, they all do. Nasty, nasty things.
It hurt, but not too bad. I did the fire and dance, sweeping them off as fast as I could.
Then it was out of there, as fast as I could pedal.