memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Posts tagged ‘ants’

The Master Cutler

Sheffield, UK

September 1978

There was a rather splendid train in those days called The Master Cutler (the honorific title of the Lord Mayor of Sheffield) which used to leave Sheffield at 7.30 and arrive at London, St. Pancras at 10 o’clock. I thoroughly approved of this service. It was a fast first-class-only Pullman commuter train with a dining car and reserved seats.

As it slid out of Sheffield I would doze for half an hour before making my way down the swaying coaches to the restaurant-car for a good old English breakfast – orange juice then eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato and toast (the whole disaster) washed down with multiple cups of coffee. I can see it now, the rattling silver cutlery, the attentive white-coated waiters bending to replenish one’s coffee cup and the damp grey-green country-side of the English Midlands flashing by.

Why do I remember that train so fondly? Maybe I select it as a metaphor, one of thousands, for an age which, however imperfect and tarnished, compares favourably with this present one with its instant gratification, communication, credit, culture of greed and corporate irresponsibility – and that jittery sense of the Human Race drifting towards some great social, economic or ecological calamity.

It’s no one’s fault by the way.

It’s just the thrust of history accelerating the world towards some inevitable conclusion.

Whatever happens, the planet (the bio-sphere) will survive, but will the Humanity which has been abusing it get away with impunity?

 Who shall inherit the earth?

Will the dominant species in the post-human era be the ant or the rat or (and here’s a thought) that twin pinnacle of evolution which decided to remain in the sea, the dolphin?

DOLPHINS INHERIT THE EARTH

Insects Rule, OK

BLUE BUTTERFLY – PAINTING by OCTAVIA MILNER

Ants rule the earth.

All the myrmecologists (ant-experts to you and me) say so. They tell us that if you add up the weights of all the ants in the world, they would weigh about the same as the total weight of all the humans in the world. When you consider that an individual ant is about one millionth the size of a human being – give or take a few hundred thousand – that’s a lot of ants (that’s a hell of a lot of ants; that’s a mind-bogglingly gynormous amount of ants; I surely take my hat off to all those ants; let’s hear it for the ants).

MOSQUITO IN RED – PAINTING by OCTAVIA MILNER

Many people cite this Associated Press article:

(what weirdo geeks work on these stats? I mean how can people actually know these things? Oh well, I suppose it takes all sorts …)

Scientists say that about 15 percentage of the Earth’s total biomass – the

combined weight of all living things – is composed of ants. Another 17

percentage is taken up by termites. The combined weight of all ants on

earth is more than the weight of all humans.

And now, about these termites

WHITE BEETLES – PAINTING BY OCTAVIA MILNER

Note: Post illustrated by my kind painter-sister Octavia: http://www.octaviamilner.co.uk

Insects Rule, OK

BLUE BUTTERFLY - PAINTING by OCTAVIA MILNER

Ants rule the earth. All the myrmecologists (ant-experts to you and me) say so. They tell us that if you add up the weights of all the ants in the world, they would weigh about the same as the total weight of all the humans in the world. When you consider that an individual ant is about one millionth the size of a human being – give or take a few hundred thousand – that’s a lot of ants; (that’s a hell of a lot of ants; that’s a mind-bogglingly ginormous amount of ants; I surely take my hat off to all those ants; let’s hear it for the ants).

MOSQUITO IN RED - PAINTING by OCTAVIA MILNER

Many people cite this Associated Press article:

(what weirdo geeks work on these stats? I mean how can people actually know these things? Oh well, I suppose it takes all sorts …)

Scientists say that about 15 percentage of the Earth’s total biomass – the

combined weight of all living things – is composed of ants. Another 17

percentage is taken up by termites. The combined weight of all ants on

earth is more than the weight of all humans.

And now, about these termites …

WHITE BEETLES - PAINTING BY OCTAVIA MILNER

 

Note: Post illustrated by my kind painter-sister Octavia: http://www.octaviamilner.co.uk

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