The Power of Metaphorical Thinking

October 20, 2014 6:01 PM

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The Power of Metaphorical Thinking

I made very little noise as I entered my quiet home at 11:30 p.m. My adult son lives there, attending college full time to reach his goal of teaching. It's a beautiful thing to see him navigate his own life, to watch a boy become a man with goals. As a mom, it doesn't get better than that. He had sent a text earlier that day: "My room is literally being over-run by ants." "Impossible" was my response. This guy is organized -- clean beyond what I've ever taught him. He's not one to pull the alarm on anything like a few ants. I followed him upstairs, and I was fascinated. This was definitely not an over-reaction on his part. This was a head-on territorial battle. I sat and watched as these minute tiny creatures crawled through a tiny crack in the window sash, over the edge, onto the wall, down onto the carpet, across the carpet to an obscure location behind a table, and back across. Two lines of gentry, one coming into the house, the other exiting to bring their wares (carpet fiber?) back to the colony. We realized that when they exited through the window they still had to navigate from the second floor, down the back of the house, across the bricks, disappearing into the mulch. I asked how long has this been going on? He told me, "I keep telling you I see ants," and that's true. But I thought he meant 1 or 2, here and there.

The day had started with an ant problem and was ending in a warm swath of silence. It was completely still and peaceful, the kind of peace that envelops you and says aah, listen to that: nothing. A lone cricket was calling, and I followed his plaintive chirps to investigate. Was he inside or outside...

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