This I Believe

Marissa - Altamont, New York
Entered on November 15, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

A tree is amazing. It grows for years and years, soaking in minerals from its roots and sunlight from its leaves. A bird is amazing, soaring above the cities, looking down at the lands and seas from the air. I think that even the most overlooked and littlest things can be incredible. Like last summer, I learned that a simple ant was extraordinary.

I was just sitting on my porch with my best friend, eating popsicles and talking about whatever we could think of on a hot summer day. Not much. Our popsicles were melting and dripping all over the sidewalk, pooling on the bricks. When I looked down to see just how much juice had dripped onto the ground, I noticed an ant, carrying a crumb more than twice its size across the sidewalk, moving around our spills, trying to get away from the drips falling down on it. At first I didn’t think much about it, just an ant. But then I looked at it again, closer, and noticed how much that little ant was risking- its whole life, every time it carries something to help its colony stay alive. I thought of how thousands of ants are killed each day… by big feet, water hoses and all the other ant-killing things out there.

I noticed then that ants are kind of like people. We as kids go to school and study day after day, discovering more and more about the world as we live on. Our parents work and earn money to keep our families healthy and happy. Perhaps young ants start early too, and learn to find food in the yard or neighborhood they live in. Maybe the older ants are in charge of building the ant hills and bringing crumbs and sweet bits and pieces to the queen and their ‘family’. Ants may be a thousand times smaller than us, and have brains the size of sand, but they still deserve to be noticed.

What if the world was different? What if ants were bigger than humans, and humans had to live in the ground and dodge feet everyday? But the world isn’t like that. Instead, humans are the rulers of the Earth. And so we step on ants. We see an ant or a bug and immediately think, “Eww, a bug!” Maybe ants look at us everyday and think, “Eww, a human!” but we just don’t know because they can’t step on us.

So next time I’m outside and I look down and spot an ant on the ground, I’ll think about what they must feel… try to be in their “shoes”. It’ll be hard, I expect, but I might be surprised how different the world is when I look at it through eyes that strive to see the extraordinary. This I believe.