What's worse, my feet have grown soft since this time last year. My flesh has become tender and yielding. I couldn't stay in the same spot for more than a few seconds before the swarm became overwhelming. I wasn't alone however, everyone had a bit more urgency to their gait. And the tell tale “ant stomp” is back again. This is the practice of slamming your foot down hard enough to hopefully dislodge any ants crawling over your foot and leg. I am convinced that the traditional Tswana dance, which has very similar stomps, has origins in this very same maneuver.
I think the ants wanted to set the tone for this season by being extra aggressive and biting extra hard. Once one of them locked its pincers, it was in it until one of us died. My feeling is they don't have to be such relentless jerks. Once I am sufficiently far away from the nest, come on, just let it go. For example, this morning I thought I had brushed off all the soldiers I had picked up on my walk but I discovered on a subsequent pass that there was one still hanging on in between my toes. This little guy had been biting me for like 4 hours straight. It should have given up and gone home a long time ago. Still, what a tremendous warrior spirit! I certainly respect that kind of moxie but not enough to spare its existence so I promptly crushed it. Respect for your enemies is important, can't underestimate these buggers for a second.
Walking barefoot to fetch water is simple no longer an option.