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The visitor

A solitary sentinel appeared, unannounced, on the coldest night of the year's end -- a red-and-black ant with the enlarged head and jaw of a soldier -- upon the bear's-claw quilt pieced together years ago by someone's grandmother. Looking up from my book with faint astonishment, I am drawn into this world of furtive feet and feelers, whose mission in such inclement weather baffles my comprehension -- tracing their labored progress across the faded terrain of parti-colored patchwork.