Friday, March 1, 2013

A Fly Went By

Welcome March 1st!
This is the time of year when we are all weary of winter
and look forward to the spring
with the anticipation of children waiting for Santa.
And for those still buried under snow,
I can attest that spring is getting very close.
I saw another sign of it just yesterday.

photo courtesy of

There is a charming old children's book titled A Fly Went By
by Mike McClintock and Fritz Siebel.
A young boy is enjoying the outdoors 
when he sees a fly go by in great fear of the frog following, 
who is himself afraid of the creature he thinks is following him.
And so on, and so on comes a sequence of animals,
 all certain they are being pursued by another
 until the book's humorous conclusion.

I thought of this book yesterday when a large fly invaded our TV room.
Where did that thing come from?
I assumed the offender got into the house by accident,
perhaps through a door held open longer than usual 
to accommodate a slow or stubborn pekingese.
I was sure that the fly would go to a permanent sleep soon enough, 
so I let him buzz around the lamps and zip from place to place 
until it settled for the night.
Tomorrow, I said. He will go.
But he didn't.

In fact, he brought his friends. 
I'm accustomed to an occasional fly or two getting in the house in summer.
I dispatch them quickly and clean their spots from the windows and sills.
But this giant fly was apparently a scout for another group of jumbo flies.
In the children's book, the boy stops the frog and asks:
Why? Why do you want to get that fly?

photo courtesy of

I'll tell you why.
These flies were big boys. They were the size of blimps. 
They cavorted in the windows, 
they played among the blinds, 
they buzzed through the house like helicopters on a mission.
No fly swatter would do for these invaders.
They were too corpulent.
As my mother-in-law used to say,
they would make quite a grease spot,
and I shuddered at having to clean up after that.
No, this was a job for the Hoover.
So cheer up everyone.
Robins have sung,
flies have taken wing.
It's definite:
spring has already begun to dispel winter's shadows.
I know spring is coming.
I know there will be signs everywhere.
I just hope the next one doesn't require a vacuum.

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