Monday, 19 May 2014

The Spider or the Fly

Exams aren't over yet but I've been thinking too much about a fly to bother with revision.

Yesterday I was sitting by the window writing my novel (as you do when you have AS exams on all week). I noticed, through the glass, a fly as it crashed into a spider's web and got stuck. It's legs were only captured on one strand so I watched as it struggled frantically in an attempt to be free again. It was wriggling and writhing and trying to fly. It reached it's few uncaught legs out desperately to the window, striving to pull away.

I watched on from my comfortable seat with sad and wondrous pity. My mind drifted to imagining what it would be like if I were that fly. I watched it's body twist in strained desperation and thought about being stuck with no possibility of escape, waiting for the end to come. I imagined what it would be like knowing that the only way to prevent a sadistic and merciless death was to move. And then I imagined knowing this and being stuck, with no chance of escape, but still hysterically trying because it was better to see hope then give up.

I looked through the glass at this fly. Contemplated all of this. And then decided it was best to just leave it to die anyway.

I did this out of respect for two beings: 1) The Spider, 2) Mother Nature. I felt immense and unwavering pity for the little life panicking before me... but I also knew that if I took away it's dinner, I would be damaging another life. I pondered rescuing the fly and thought better of it because by saving one life, I would be impairing another. Who was I to say which life was the more important of the two - the one worth saving? Best leave it up to Mother Nature to make decisions over life and death. Or so I thought.

I really am keen on this whole respecting Mother Nature, it's only the natural course of things, kind of ideal... but... the sympathy won me out. After watching this poor creature struggle for hours (and it didn't give up, not for one second) and trying to tell myself to just leave the natural world be, I interfered. I felt bad. I figured that the spider could go hungry for one night. Besides, skipping dinner was the lesser of two evils (or whatever they call it in religion).

I reached my finger out under the window, twisted my hand around, and with VERY careful probing, rescued the little fly from it's misery. It seemed completely stunned at first. It sat very still on my finger as I carried it down the stairs. I went out into the garden and tried to let it go. It didn't want to go. It was exploring my fingers and my hands. After quite some time I managed to encourage it onto a leaf where it sat, almost contemplative, as if appreciating the world.

I had saved a life. I had saved a life. I tried not to think about a ravenous spider shivering under its web, or Mother Nature glaring at that pesky human who was always intersecting insects' deaths. I had saved a life.

They would just have to deal with it.

(I guess the message of this blog is that it isn't always easy to "do the right thing." Most of the time, it's difficult to figure out what "the right thing is." Sometimes, there just isn't one.)

p.s. If any scienc-y people come on here and start lecturing me about how flies don't have emotions, I warn you in advance to piss off. Thanks!

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