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Monday, March 15, 2010

The Fly

The Fly

On these cold winter days as I sit observing the sun’s warming rays creep across the room through my window, I am sometimes reminded of my pet fly. Many years ago when I was a young art student, I was allowed the temporary use of studio space by the university. Though the shared space was small, it had the benefit of exceptional natural light that streamed through the north facing windows. I was participating in an open study course work that allowed anytime access. I preferred to work early in the morning through afternoon to take full advantage of the light. Each day before I would set myself to work I would load up on hot tea with honey as my preferred caffeine kick. As the semester rolled on the Styrofoam cups containing the dregs of tea bags, backwash and honey began to accumulate, obscuring the paint stand. After taking heat for the mess one morning I set to work cleaning it up. What I discovered that morning was to me both fascinating and unusual. On top of one of the cup lids sat the soggy discarded tea bag upon which a housefly had taken for its retirement cottage. I thought it odd that the fly did not fly when approached. I was able to pick up the cup and closely examine it and still it did not budge. I proceeded to gently prod at it with a pencil tip and its only response was to slowly walk to the opposite corner. As the day wore on I periodically checked on the status of my little friend and he each time I found him more determined than ever to stay despite my periodic eviction notices.
After a long weekend I returned to the studio and was surprised to find my new friend in good health and spirit. As the days turned to weeks I sustained my teacup lodger by pouring the remainders of my tea onto the old teabag that began to resemble an old sodden futon pad on which he lounged. From it he would extend his mouthparts and drink and then perhaps take a short walk on the make shift patio. This experience in interspecies cooperation ended just as the new spring was about to arrive. I had hoped he was just wintering there and would fly off as the longest-lived housefly in history. This was not to be on a day in mid. March I found him still standing as ever. He did not come to feed that day he apparently had died in his sleep. I sometimes wonder what he took away from the experience and what strange bit of wiring made him stay in the first place.

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