The ant climbs on top of it and lingers. It's like a thin little human crawling up onto the mummified remains of an elephant. The ant hesitates -- seems to look around, but I know I'm anthropomorphising; projecting intent on it. I like to think it's enjoying the view, but maybe it's pausing to parse any chemical scent-trails that are on the air. Waiting for pheromonal info, a signal from its hive-crew.
After a minute, it moves on.
Nearby - existing at yet another magnitude of smallness - is a super-tiny bead-like ball - an ovoid - some sort of micro-beetle. It is still, immobile, no features or limbs visible under its dark ruby / garnet-coloured carapace.
I watch it for 2 minutes, three... checking for signs of life. Nothing.
Then, unexpectedly, it moves - oddly at first - like a drunken dodgem-car. It weaves, bobs, bounces off bumps and ridges in the step too small for me to see.
Another ant, this time down in the grass stalks at the base of the step, passes carrying the dead body of a third ant in its mouth. I try to imagine a human doing that: having a corpse balanced in your jaws, between your teeth. Maybe that's what the first ant was waiting for, this grim-weird funereal event. Perhaps he smelled some ant-death chemical.
Sunshine on the step. Warm stone. Light on my arms.
This time of year, the Grannys Bonnets are in bloom. Pinks, purples, mauves.
One plant has two leaves at its base that have variegated - turned dark olive, almost black - the colour of gangrenous toes.
I think of my father.