The path I take around my area is not so much a sidewalk as a strip of pavement, bounded on each side by grass. It’s basically just the road extended and separated so that people can walk/jog/ride on it (about the width of three people).
Like most pavement, it settles and cracks, producing an uneven but eventful walk, especially at a brisk pace. As I travel around the area, the “stretch run” is next to a high-speed 4-lane road. This section of the path is more cracked and broken than any other and consequently is heavily encroached by ants. I’m sure you’re familiar with the sight: along the cracks, sand piles (ant hills) build up, sometimes spaced along the crack and sometimes just a big long pile of sand.
I find myself adjusting my stride and speed to avoid stepping on these piles. I do this not because I am concerned I will have dozens of ants crawling on my shoes (not at that speed, really), but because I don’t want to destroy the ants’ homes and hard work.
This is exactly what Jeremy does in my books and I wondered if this was life imitating art or the other way around? I didn’t start walking regularly until long after the first book was done, but I have always felt strongly that all insects outside my home were entitled to go about their lives without me butting in.
I’m sure I must present quite a sight to any of the drivers who happen to glance at the fast-walking man weaving drunkenly around the walking path. On the plus side, it means the walks not only improve my stamina, but my agility as well!
It’s really all part of my enjoyment of the nature around me. I still point and shout out “squirrel” at each one that darts in front of me (oddly, not as many as before…do you think they’re on to me?) and I have yet to get one of the dozens (hundreds?) of butterflies to land on my finger, but I’m still trying! So, if a camera were to follow me around on my walks, I think the drunken weaving might be the least peculiar activity I might be engaged in. It’s all good fun and makes the walk pass swiftly.
I have to think that Jeremy is more the way he is because of who I am and not vice versa. Still, I’d like to know what someone who read the book (and didn’t know who I was) would say if they saw me dodging and dancing around the ants as I walked.