Putting The Ant in Antigonish

Posted on September 12, 2015 under Storytelling with one comment


The dreaded 8:15 class

( Originally published August 2013 )



On most days I walk to and from work, a trek of about two and a half kilometres. The good news is that the trip to work is all downhill and the wind is at my back. Of course, I have to come home at the end of the day and while the walk is not arduous, the north wind is always blowing in my face. In the summer this is a wonderful thing. In the dead of winter, it can be torturous.

This street is a major thoroughfare, and this being a university town many students use this route to get to classes. Some things never change. As long as I can remember, the first class of the day has always commenced at 8:15. Last spring, on my way to work, I came over the last hill which brings one to Main Street, and on both sidewalks was a long line of students with their back packs, making their way to campus. It looked very much like a column of ants.

Now, lest you think I am being disrespectful to be referring to students as ants, may I remind you that ants are very industrious, bright insects. They are the animal with the largest brain in proportion to their body size. They are known to be the smartest type of insects with about 250,000 brain cells. There are warrior ants who engage in hand to hand combat and apparently execute well-planned strategies to overcome their victim.

In a rebuttal to the phrase “It’s a man’s world”, the male worker ants have a lifespan of between 45-60 days while the queen ant can live upwards of 20 years. Reminds me of that old country and western song; “She got the gold mine. I got the shaft.” And apparently, slavery is alive and well in the colonies… the ant colonies, that is. The slave- maker ant raids the nests of other ants and steals their pupae. Once the pupae hatch, they are made to work as servants within the colony. Sort of like a hostile corporate takeover.

And finally, ants are capable of carrying objects 50 times their own body weight. One of the varsity football players would have to lift a mid-sized car over his head to equal the strength of an ant. Some have tried.

The ants walking down the sidewalk on this winter morning are the engine of the local economy. Antigonish has been welcoming students since 1855. Technically the university was started in Arichat but later relocated to Antigonish. While there has always been a healthy tension between town and gown, it is a symbiosis akin to anything in the animal kingdom.

Every time I witness this parade down the sidewalks I start humming the soundtrack from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; High ho, high ho, it’s off to work we go. Let us celebrate this ant colony. Brains and hard work should pay off for them too.




Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
Tri Mac Toyota!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


One Response to Putting The Ant in Antigonish

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.