The guppy pond has larvae bubbling at the surface, fighting for space with the lily pads. Sitting with my eyes on a level with the surface of the pond, I spot an ant. It is a red ant, sipping delicately at a drop of water on a leaf.
It's going to drown, my son says.
It won't. It will move from one leaf to the other because they are all perfectly flat and they all touch each other.
We wait. Only the guppies move. The ant is immobile.
It's dead. I'm telling you, it's dead.
It does look curiously crumpled, near that one drop of water on a dry leaf. I nudge it with a fingernail.
The ant uncurls itself and walks along the perimeter of the leaf. It appears to be looking at itself in the pond but finding nothing interesting, moves off. As it reaches the place where one leaf touches the next, we hold our breath, imagining the instability of shifting weight. But ants are lighter than we think.
This leaf has a trail of slimy moss across it. I say the ant will get caught in the slime and not be able to make its way to the leaf on the farther side of it. But I am wrong. The ant slows down, turns on its side and goes to sleep.
I've never seen an ant sleep. I nudge it awake and it moves to another leaf, another spot where it curls up again.
It must be the heat. We leave the ant in peace and get on with other things.
This morning, the larvae have disappeared.
Elsewhere in the state an entire crop of red chillies has burst into flame. A short circuit is allegedly responsible.
I briefly entertain the thought of spontaneous combustion. Think about it: the heat outside and inside a chilly, separated only by a membrane of red. Imagine an entire crop, red and sharp-tongued, waiting.
I'm not surprised.