The summer rain arrived today, after two months of bone dry waiting. Suddenly the desert is a damp greenhouse, triggering the brief reproductive season of the small black ants who share my hill. I first see them on my way back from San Manuel, sailing toward my windshield like feathers, like snowflakes. Once home, I figure it out. From between, beneath the pavers of my patio they emerge, inverted paratroopers. Born underground in total darkness, nymph winged, finding air and light for the first time in their existence, they file upward through tunnels into the wet sunlight, and next thing they know they are flying over the house, on a mission which is clear to each of them, though not to me. I find a magnifying loupe and peer, unbelieving, down a single one of countless exits. Wingless variants line the tunnel, assisting their comrades into the light. Two seconds to shake out their gray wings and adjust their minds to the expansive sky, then liftoff. With no briefing, they take off toward the northeast, toward some nuptial rendezvous programmed into their ganglia, standard issue marching orders to all properly accessorized ants. Some don't make it, some perish, wet wings plastered in rain puddles on top of the pavers, legs and mandibles straining toward the golden air above. The wingless ones are otherwise identical, mere midwives apparently, their usefulness ended. Fire ants raid the pavers, carrying superfluous bodies off to feed yet further babies for yet further purposes. It is the frightful excess, the ruthless economics of nature. This happened today, under the ragged monsoon clouds, all across Arizona, all across New Mexico.