Click on photo to enlarge - © 2007-2008 jim otterstrom
This fly posed patiently for me on the porch railing last July---with my lens only a few millmeters away---and I came across the photo again today when I was organizing some files.
It's difficult for me to kill these strangely beautiful creatures when I've taken such a close look at them.
We all have a place among the diversity of our ecosystem, so a better solution would be to keep flies outside where they belong, not in the house.
Still, if one does get in and I can't catch it, or shoo it out, the trusty old fly-swatter does come into play sometimes.
It's sad how we humans can kill billions of the numerous little insect "pests" all around us without considering the miracle of their existence, or our mutual interdependence on the continuing complexity of life on earth.
A complexity that diminishes with each lost species, and we're currently losing an estimated 50,000 species per year, 137 per day, or appoximately 6 a minute.
The common housefly is probably less threatened with oblivion than we are, but the callous disregard which enables us to define other species as contemptable, or simply expendable, is clearly reflected in those great numbers we are driving to extinction through our monumental arrogance and thoughtlessness.
I try to be relatively conscientious about co-existing harmoniously with the species around me, so it's disturbing when I realize that I'm sometimes just as culturally conditioned to knee-jerk reactionary behavior as everyone else.
One day, not long ago, I was walking along a sidewalk with my daughter, pre-occupied with conversation, when she pointed toward the concrete and asked, "Is that a cockroach?". I instinctively stepped on it, without a thought, and my daughter exclaimed, "Why did you do that, I feel awful now?".
Well, I still feel bad! The little creature was simply minding its own business when a human came along to stomp it out of existence. And I'm the guy who, for decades, has carefully captured spiders who found their way into the house and taken them outdoors.
A few years ago, Peggy and I went on a day-long desert road trip with my sister-in-law, Penny. There was an irruption of Painted Lady Butterflies that year and they were everywhere, by the millions. We obliterated several thousand with the grille & windshield of Penny's car, and ours was only one of countless other vehicles wreaking the same havoc.
Thoughts of the once common Passenger Pigeon came to my mind, and the stories of how they once darkened the daylight sky with their great numbers before we hunted them to extinction in the early part of the 20th Century.
Photographed July 27th 2007
Canon S5IS - Manual mode, supermacro setting, ISO 80, f 2.7, 1/500th second.
Labels: diversity, insects, nature