Spring officially began in the Northern Hemisphere exactly one week ago. I commemorated the coming of spring one day later in a long article. Therein, I discussed some harbingers of spring. Different people in different places associate different things with the birth of spring. In my post, I noted that Maurice Materlick thought of snowdrop and amaryllis flowers, I think of crocuses, and Bradford Torrey thought of alder trees. A couple of days ago, I was reminded of one herald of spring that I forgot – or blocked out – in my spring Around the Web post. The ant home invasion – the spring equivalent of the summer cries of the cicadas.

Title card for "A Clever Little Brown Ant" from Insect Stories by Vernon L. Kellogg (1908)
Titled card for “A Clever Little Brown Ant,” which was part of “Insect Stories” by Vernon L. Kellogg (1908)

Ant Home Invasion

Every year, small ants invade my Brooklyn dwelling en masse in the spring. They come through small gaps in the windows, they mill around the kitchen, the bathroom, and even my office space. They are relatively harmless. But there quickly reaches a point when the invasion becomes impossible to ignore. I recall that point last year being when I was reading on my loveseat in my bedroom and I felt an ant crawling on my arm. Or was it when they started drowning in my glass of water?

I was reminded of the ants while I was working a few days ago. There I was, typing away, when I saw something small and black crawling on my right monitor. He or she marched alone, a brave explorer crawling into uncharted territory (insofar as he or she knew).

Soon, the ant’s friends shall surely come. Then, and only then, will I be sure that spring has sprung.

Prelude to the Ant Home Invasion Tanka

I have shared a large number of old poems at The New Leaf Journal in recent weeks. I have not, however, written many poems. Unlike my distinguished song-writing colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, I seldom venture into verse. I hold fast to the world of prose, dabbling only in the occasional haiku or tanka.

But spring is here. I did write a tanka about avoiding mosquitoes last summer. That will be very relevant soon. But there is no reason the mosquitoes should have a tanka while the ants do not. I rectify this egregious oversight below with a quaint ant invasion tanka.

Tanka: When the Ants Come; Spring has Sprung

At work at my desk
I see crawling on my screen
A lone tiny ant.
A small harbinger of spring,
And a sign of floods to come

-Nicholas A. Ferrell
A picture of little brown ants marching in line by a windowsill, photo by Nicholas A. Ferrell using the Open Camera App on his Motorola e6 phone.
The situation a couple of days after the ant-on-monitor sighting: I took this photo with my Motorola e6 phone camera using the Open Camera App