One dry season evening in the Nigerian bush, I turned the gentle corner of a single-track and startled at a large boa. The dirt road was about four meters wide and the snake’s broad head was halfway across. The rest of the snake’s body still exited from the jungle to the right. In my Ford Bronco’s headlights it glistened, bright and beautiful and terrifying. On its wide back, saddleback patterns in stark shades of brown and green tinted hues formed an abstract camouflage. In the bush, the snake would be impossible to spot but in the bare dust of the jungle track, it was a vivid, unsettling nightmare.
I marveled over its beauty. Though its colors were not bright, they were strong and dramatic and mesmerizing. It did not quicken its pace in the harsh headlights but continued its deliberate journey across the narrow bush road. I drove over it in my heavy truck and felt the vehicle rise and fall as each axle passed over the broad, muscular trunk. I reversed, backing over the snake, and as the headlights gleamed again off its mottled back, I saw its head enter the jungle on the left. Its tail was still emerging from the thick growth to the right. I marveled at its size.
I turned off the truck motor and listened as the boa disappeared into the dark jungle. Against the background of singing night insects, I could hear the distinct rustle of dry leaves and the sharp snap of small limbs as the massive snake continued its deliberate journey. I marveled at its power and I feared. I listened until I could no longer hear it and I wondered. I wondered why it fascinated me. I wondered why a terrifying beast could captivate me and paralyze me in the same moment.
Like a moth flirting with a candle, something about danger entrances me. And when I find a terror, I dance around it, inching closer, darting back, knowing I’m alive.
“Richard is an excellent story-teller and the backdrop of Afghanistan is complex and fascinating. His voice is both lyrical and strong, painting both lovely and gritty characters.”—T Conrad
“What a beautiful story!”—R Busbee
“Excellent work of literary fiction.”—CM Cox
“Given the power of the story, the intensity of the human element, and the richness of its cultural and geographical settings, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Khaled Hosseini’s novels.”—S Clement
“An amazing book.”—C Hudgins
“Powerful message of grace and forgiveness.”—JWC
“This is a story that must be read by anyone who has lived with betrayal or who has betrayed the one they promised to love.”—L Jewel
“Definitely an enlightening and educational read.”—S Harris
“This book is like reading a symphony, with it’s high’s, low’s and ebbs of the emotion, to dream the dreams of love, experience the depths of betrayal and then the raw emotion of the journey from bitterness to forgiveness.”—Amazon Customer
“To my delight I could not put this book down.”—R Page
“A captivating journey of betrayal and forgiveness.”—S Mizell
“Carey Richard does a beautiful job with this deep and emotionally charged love story.”—BCJ
“This book can be read and enjoyed on many levels: Afghan culture, sociological effects of war on family and relationships, a love story, psychological aspect of forgiveness. The poems at the end of the chapter were captivating; they summed up the essence of the preceding chapter. This is the type of book that should be read again.”—Mikey
“An insightful look into one woman’s journey of the heart through bitterness and forgiveness. Also an interesting history of a country we all need to understand and know about. I recommend this for a serious reader, one looking for hope in the midst of betrayal in a culture that doesn’t applaud or honor the sacrifice of love.”—E Ordeman
“Consider the Pismire thou sluggard . . . it is the smallest of creatures yet it raises an extraordinary stench when threatened.” —Carey Richard
A Few Facts about Ants
- The word “ant” comes from an old German word meaning, “to bite.”
- Ants are social creatures and very territorial. They will sacrifice their lives for their own community but they can be very aggressive toward other nests. (Science Daily)
- According to National Geographic, male ants have only one role—mating with the queen.
- Worker ants are all female.
Men are not hard to understand. They’re like ants—prone to jealousy, territorial, aggressive, and single-minded about one thing in particular. They are strong, have a nasty bite, and they’re really sensitive about size. It’s the testosterone. But, surprisingly, they want the same things women want.
According to a New York Daily News article, published March 11, 2008, high-end call girls, some charging $5,000 an hour, said the majority of their time with clients was spent not having sex, but in conversation and companionship.
Researchers across the board have discovered that men pursue extramarital affairs primarily for sex while women have affairs wanting affection. But they have also discovered that men get emotionally attached in the affair while women become addicted to the adventurous sex. Men and women both want the same things; they just go after it from a different angle.
Men want what women want with some adjustments to priority. They want excitement, stimulating conversation, companionship, love, and occasionally, some time alone or with their friends. And like ants, they don’t take well to attempts at changing their nature.
There are many kinds of ants: fire ants, army ants, crazy ants, honey ants, trap jaw ants, weaver ants. All of them have possibility. All of them have risk. Some of their behaviors can be modified.
You can put a little fire in a honey ant without fear of changing his nature, but teaching a fire ant to control his temper is a challenge. The success rate for anger management is dismal. Army ants are obedient but nomadic. You can domesticate and potty-train them, but they tend to go a little wild on Saturday nights. Trap jaw ants and weaver ants are good providers, but can be controlling. They’re cunning and become bored when they have everything organized to their liking. Managing them can be exhausting. Forget the crazy ants. They’re entertaining, but unpredictable.
A honey ant may not put skyrockets in flight but he’ll be there on the front porch with you when you are seventy. He doesn’t really need to be managed, and he will change you as much as you change him. He gives more than he takes.
Choose carefully! And if you’ve already done your choosing, understand that there is a little pismire in every man.
Carey Richard is the author of The Poppy Field Diary available on Kindle or paperback.
“Richard concludes each chapter with haiku-like poems, but his prose also sings lyrically . . . Despite the meditative nature of the narrative, historical action continuously looms in the background—the Soviet collapse, factional warring, the rise of the Taliban, and the similarly timed attacks on the World Trade Center and mujahedeen leader Ahmad Shah Massoud.”
“A highly personal story that mines the psychology of betrayal and forgiveness.”
“Hauntingly beautiful. Prose—simply amazing!
—Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Review