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Following the Aroma of Wild Honey…

People are just like ants…. Always going somewhere…

Heidi Muijen en Johann Gomes
Translated into English by Greg Suffanti
The Arrival ― watercolor by Greg Suffanti

The young ant of Indian ancestry, Antos, lived together with his large family in the inland region of Suriname, under the roots of WoudReus, the Giant Silk-cotton Tree that grew on the banks of the Saramacca River.
Every day Antos followed the branched toes and long legs of his dear WoudReus, until he felt the soft skin of mother earth and heard the noises of the river. When he’d hear the water’s songs he’d sink into melancholy. Why, this he didn’t yet understand. His thoughts and memories flowed in the rhythm of the river – and then he’d forget what his mother wanted him to do.
He walked by seeds, nuts, and the peelings of different fruit that the gluttonous Spider monkeys, red macaws and parakeets left lying on the ground. He forgot to take any of these with him, his thoughts followed the water, sunk in his dream world.
On the Way to Your Destination
When the sun set and twilight came, Antos collected a few peelings, leaves and seeds and ran back home along the toes and legs of the Giant Silk-cotton Tree.

“Aha, there is our Antos at last, and with just enough food only for himself,”

So began his mother with a stern tone in her voice,

“You know that all living beings – with wings and scales, on two, four or six legs, and certainly the arthropods – thrive by serving their whole colony?”

The young ant son looked defeatedly at his mother and became still.

“Go to your grandfather and ask him about the wisdom of our GiantTree!”

Antos looked drained. When he saw his grandfather he asked him if he would tell him about WoudReus, the Giant Silk-cotton Tree and how it was a signpost for ants.
Grandfather ant winked at his grandson and began:

“…..If you’re going to talk about the sacred then you need to light up a cigar, so my own grandfather said when I asked him about the forest.”

“He told me that wandering along the horizontal roots only works if you know the Ancient Wisdom of the vertical signposts on the paths.”

He was still for a moment, and he looked directly at his grandson:

“Did I ever tell you about any of that?”

He held the flame to his cigar, which was made from spices and plants from the jungle….Then it became quiet, and the two became shrouded in the dark cloth of night.
Grandfather lit a candle.

“We ants don’t just travel from one place to another, but along the winding paths and secret gates, we discover the quintessence of life!”

Antos then asked:

“Does it matter where on Mother Earth we live? “

Grandfather laughed and said that his tribe arrived just like the Saramacca, with its rapids and splatters. Then calm, but steady. The longer he sat with his grandfather the more trust Antos felt that he’d find the right path, no matter where Mother called him.
Yes, he felt in his flowing voice the sea, where all rivers come together…..
….. and lead to the Ocean, with its gulfs that contain the eternal story: for those who want to hear it….
And Antos heard that evening how ants were, in work and being, beneficial for all of the other beings that crawled on Mother Earth, even for the feathered serpents who flew in the air above them!

“Watch out for the signs of radiant warmth, intoxicating smells and enchanting colors when you go out along the legs and toes of our GiantTree in the morning!”

“In this way you learn that you are part of a colony that includes all the other colonies of Mother Earth.”

Antos felt his grandfather’s warmth and a beneficent calm fall over him. Oooh the delicious smell of honey that hung around Grandfather’s swivel stool. As soon as his antennae felt charged, he felt strong and knew that he was well on his way to his destination:

“When can I take the ant test, Grandfather?”

“Yes, you’re almost ready Antos!
Watch out in the coming days for the temperatures of the other ants in the colony and see if you taste sweetness, bitterness, anger or joy? You need to be able to separate all the different smells: and watch what you feel and share your own warmth with others!
This is how you share the fullness of life with others. This is where our powers are hidden. This is what makes us complete and makes us a worthy part of the Great Whole.”

Antos bowed his head and glowed with happiness because he felt a power pulling him…. And what did he hear?…. the lure of the Quintessence….
A dragonfly flew by. Everything seemed to merge together. Or did Antos fly into a dream world?
By flying through heavenly joys his mood had changed. Suddenly, he understood his melancholy by the Saramacca and how the river held the secrets of life. He was thankful for Grandfather’s life lesson about the stream of life and how it flows…

Inspired by / taken from a fragment:
Reinier Artiest (2016). Indiaans verhaal. In de schaduw van twee beschavingen. Zutphen: Uitgeverij Walburg Pers, pp.79-84.
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