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Friday, April 24, 2009

Requiem for the Crane Flies

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus,
cum vix justus sit securus?

For 5 weeks or more crane flies (Nephrotoma wulpiana mainly, and others) have been exceptionally abundant. They've been in the house, on the house, all over the garden rising from the shrubbery like spindly angels, they've been in my hair and in the spider webs. But now their time is nearly over, I think; their eggs must have been laid by now, our current cool moist weather notwithstanding their days as adult crane flies are drawing to a close.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
quando judex est venturus,
cuncta stricte discussurus!

This male crane fly got caught in the messy web of a common house spider, a predator of all who pass by. If the fly managed to mate before his demise the legacy of his DNA will hatch in the soil soon and return next spring as crane flies; and his corpus will be reincarnated in a couple weeks as spiderlings. If he wasn't successful mating, well, just the spiders then.

Fac eas de morte transpire ad vitam.
Quam olim Abrahae promisisti,
et semini ejus.

While this is the end for the individual flies, life goes on and never rests but finds its peace in eternal reprocessing of matter and light. Hidden in my garden soil will be leatherjackets, maggots of the crane flies, eating decomposed matter and growing to emerge next spring as unlikely angels of the long, tangled and easily broken legs.

Requiem aeternam dona eis,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

By the way, common house spiders (Parasteatoda tepidarium) are available for purchase. They cost 50 cents each for a live specimen, which is cheap for distilled angels and sunlight.

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