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Archive for January, 2017

Visions of Berlin

“When I returned from Berlin I found ants had moved into the kitchen. I knew to watch my step, having received a warning from a solitary soldier some years before. It happened when I was resting my bones on a bench on the Walter Benjamin Trail near the Spanish border. The heat was intense, and I could do no more than watch ants at work – there was an entire army of them, hundreds, maybe thousands (impossible to count with all those jerky legs) in two long supply lines. Benjamin, escaping the Nazis, may himself have rested somewhere around there and watched the ancestors of those very same ants. A thought. Having nothing better to do, I laid a twig across the supply lines, between the legions: would the ants instantly climb over the stick, the shortest route, or walk around? Shortly afterwards, an ant – some sort of army scout – appeared on my shoulder. It stood there staring at me, motionless and menacing. I wondered if it was aware of what I was up to, if it was giving me the option to back off or be bitten. Small but deadly serious. I withdrew and he fell back to his ranks.”