After an exhausting and difficult night with my boys, I lay in bed listening to the fan whir and the pesky house fly buzz between the blinds, the sound of it hitting against it's temporary barriers left me with a thought that we, me and the fly, at that very moment were experiencing a parallel in our lives.
At some point he was free to fly to wherever his heart desired. At some point, he would again...unless his life was taken by a rolled up magazine or end with an abrupt and heedless smuck from the bottom of a shoe.
I've never felt guilt for killing an insect until recently. I killed a fly with my bare hands the other day, not believing that I could actually do it. I did. I was repulsed by the black and off white smear it left on my white kitchen cupboards and as I washed my hands I whispered an apology to that poor fly that did nothing to deserve it's death but simply do what it was made to do and annoy me.
As a young girl I can recall picking up a daddy long legs in the bathroom and plucking every leg off of it until it was nothing but a bead of a body. And then I flushed it down the toilet.
Does this shock and repel you? Perhaps make you think I was a warped child that took joy in harming living things? I wasn't. I didn't. I was but a curious little girl. I don't know why I did it. I never did such a thing again...the memory of me doing something so brutal - if only to an insect - even shocks and repulses me.
I grew up to be a woman, a Mother who now teaches her child that creatures big or small are not to be needlessly harmed or killed. Though of-course that's hypocritical being that I have done the very same thing countless times. At this very moment I have a dish of apple cider on my counter to tempt the flocks of fruit flies to their own deaths. Perhaps the smaller the critter the less we think their importance in this huge world.
Perhaps in my 35th year I've become far too philosophical and sentimental for my own good.
Perhaps next I shall give up eating animals, for the sheer brutality and grotesqueness of the process in which it comes to lay across my plate has, as of late, been turning me off.
"Mommy! There's a spider in your room! It's really, really big!"
My eldest just ran up to me and led me to the giant spider on the window in the bedroom I share with my husband.
It was a daddy long legs. I tried to remember the last time I had a daddy long legs encounter but I could not.
I gently picked it up by its one leg and descended the stairs towards the door that led outside. On the other side of the glass door I called to the boys to show them the spider. As their sweet, innocent faces peered with smiles out the window, the spider it seemed to wave one leg at them.
"Look! It's waving at you guys!"
They giggled and with a silly feeling that I was being given a second chance to do right by that poor tortured spider of decades passed, I placed the spider on the window ledge outside our home where it was free to roam once again.