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Calgary, Alberta

A Small To Medium Sized Colony

Alternate title: The Ant And The GraceHoper Wannabee

The busy weekend is over and presently I am driving the backroads of rural Alberta surrounded by newly mown fields, all stubble and bared black earth and the smell of manure. The season, with its toiling combines and baled hay reminds me of the old Aesop Fable of The Ant And The Grasshopper. Only, I prefer James Joyce’s ‘GraceHoper’, from his unreadable uber-epic ‘Finnegans Wake.’

Everyone knows the tale: the industrious thinking-of-the-morrow ants busily gather and store provisions for the coming cold while the dreaming artist-poet grasshopper idles away his time.

Where would we be without those laboring ants, tilling the soil and filling our stores with the provisions of life?

But then, aren’t we all ants: toiling away to put food on our tables and play a role as cog in the vast and complex system that is our society’s economy? Even our priests and ministers are ants, bending the Word of God contained in the Bible to the greater spiritual good of the community as a whole.

Should a percentage of individuals fail to integrate into the group don’t forget the psychiatric ants and law ants and police and correctional ants.

Nowadays the money-minded ants seemed to have gained the upper hand. They build and inhabit great towers at the heart of the colony. Or I should say colonies, for these teeming seething agglomerations have spread across the globe in their insatiable lust for resources. Thousands upon thousands of colonies, containing millions, indeed billions of ants.

However, it seems there is an unease, a dissatisfaction among the ants these days. Work might be getting to them. A sort of creeping existential malaise is spreading.

Enter the lowly, misunderstood, reviled and ridiculed GraceHoper. The singer of songs, reciter of poems. The fashioner of rituals designed –as if by God or the Holy Spirit, The Grandfathers, or whatever name you wish to call it–to integrate and harmonize all aspects of the colony’s existence with the world about. The balance restorer.

“Balance has been lost,” Xenon has said: “and it won’t be restored for a long time. In pockets, yes, but collectively, we have a long way to go.”

“Christianity was the rebalancing of the decaying Roman Empire,” he has said. “As individuals fell away from the once prevailing system of sentiments, the spiritual and emotional bonds that linked them to the group eroded. The Story of Christ, as interpreted by Paul and the Fathers of the Church, captured their lost wandering souls set adrift by the general collapse.”

Wow. Crazy poetic words of a GraceHoper!

That’s Xenon, and this is his Omphalos Cafe. GraceHoper Academy. A refuge, an oasis, a sanctuary. Hail to the ever dreaming GraceHoper!

GraceHopers of the world, unite!

PS: Employed in this post: The Gospel According To James Joyce (more commonly known as Finnegans Wake); and an exegesis by Joseph Campbell and Henry Robinson  (or A Skeleton’s Key To Finnegans Wake).