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The ant with the leaf

Thursday 7/2/20

Yesterday I began and completed another full piece. This is the biggest month of my career. I have more to do than ever, more to take on than ever. To clear my head I took one of my ten mile walks out to Boston College. With these pressures, with what I face, with the walls and walls and walls and walls of resistance and hate of this industry, every single last step matters, every mile matters, in terms of keeping my heart strong, my body strong, able to endure, every single work for the ages written, in full, three hours before these people awake, matters. Every radio segment, every op-ed, every feature. Every post in this journal. I don't see the progress every day, I often don't see any, typically there is only more evidence of the discrimination, but I know my day is coming, and I know that every single last thing I do right now contributes to its arrival.

At BC, I ran the stairs ten times. I was sitting down, drinking some water near the bottom of the stairs. My routine is I get a coffee at Dunkin' Donuts just outside the North End when I leave, then I stop at a convenience store in Chestnut Hill, around the corner from where I lived in my early twenties, when I'd stay up all night, every night, working on my writing, and I buy two liters of water for $1.59. There are some plants in one of those round, stone islands benches at the bottom of the BC Conte Forum stairs. I sat there, drinking my water, soaked in sweat after the first six runs up the stairs, and looked down at the ground and saw various ants going about their day.

One ant was carrying a part of a leaf, but it was more than a leaf. It had a bit of stem in it. The other ants didn't have anything like this. The ant with the leaf advanced along the side of the stone island, and it came to this rock, much taller than the ant, even higher than the top of the leaf. The ant tried to climb the rock, leaf in its mouth, but it couldn't make it, so it came back down, turned its body around, and went through this little space between the rock and the stone island, seeming to pull its leaf, but never letting it touch the ground. Out it comes the other side, and another ant attacks this ant, to get the leaf. But the ant with the leaf is having none of this, and takes a leg of the attacking ant clean off, again, never setting down the leaf. I watched the ant, who had wanted what this other ant had, drag its abdomen on the ground as it retreated, barely able to move. The ant with the leaf simply kept going on its way. And I thought to myself, "right, back to it. You are not losing to these people."

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