It was December 8, and our world in New England had been buried under two-to-three feet of snow. My wife and I were still trying to dig out from this two-day storm. Half a dozen drifts, especially around the cars, were over my six-foot head.
But the sun came out and the temperature topped the freezing point. Suddenly, Lorry yelled, "Yikes! It's a fly!".
The fly had landed on the south-facing clapboards of our hilltop house, and was sporadically climbing upward. What on earth is a fly doing outside in winter, I thought. And I began to speculate.
This bug is maybe a quarter-inch high, on his tippy toes. The snow measured 28 inches in our back yard. Now if this fly had his burrow in the ground when this storm hit, two days later he'd have to climb through snow that was about a hundred times his height.
"How could he do that?" I thought. That would be like a man buried under 600 feet of snow, perhaps during the ice age. The answer is that the fly probably stashed out in our garden shed, which would have been dry, clear of snow, but freezing cold. Hmmmm.
Anyway, I decided to run for my new digital camera, but by the time I returned, the fly had lethargically climbed to the second floor. It must have been warmer there. So, with a telephoto lens, I got several distant shots, and later blew them up on the computer. Not as good as the flicks of my spider or my grasshopper last month, but passable.
I really have no conclusion to this story, except that Editor Kay McCarte asked me if I planned to make the "Yikes!" thing a continuing series. There was first, "Yikes, a spider!" and then "Yikes! A grasshopper" and suddenly this stupid fly lands on my clapboards in mid-winter.
It was a sign.
January 2, 2004