June 5, 2013

My Little Conservationist

"Don't kill that fly, Momma!" Daughter 2 shrieked as I had the fly swatter raised and ready to strike on the %&(@ fly that wouldn't stop buzzing my head or landing on my hands as I typed.

"Oh, honey, this fly is about to meet it's maker," I said through gritted teeth.

"Please, Momma," she begged with a little catch in her voice. "Let me catch it and take it outside to feed the frogs."

Oh, for the love of all that's green. Really? It was a fly? It vacationed on dog poop. From what I remember of ninth grade biology, it started as a maggot and puked on food and died within a day. I was only helping to fulfill its destiny by swatting it dead right then and there.

She may have a future in insect control.
But ... Daughter 2. She did love her frogs. She could spend hours with a band, chorus, army, whatever of frogs and by the time she released them back into the wild, she would know which frog had what marks and where. She had assigned them names and could pick them out of a lineup on any given summer night. She knew their croaks and their bumps and their springy, little jumps. She had a passion for the green beings and for being green.

"How will you catch it?" I asked, already knowing that even if she said she'd catch it with her own bare hands (yeah, right), I was going to relent and let her and the fly dance around my head for the afternoon.

As if she were channelling Johnny from The Price is Right, she announced, "With my neeewww bug catcher!" Then she produced said bug catcher from behind her back with a "Ta-da!" and a hand swipe, a la Vanna White. Fine. She could catch the nasty little fly.

Within two minutes my little entomologist-slash-herpetologist had the perp fly in custody. "See, Momma," she explained to her feeble minded, screw-the-earth momma, "I'll let this little guy go outside and some frog will eat him. It's the circle of life, really." I half-expected her to hold the fly above her head and break into Elton John songs.

I was not convinced that her catch-and-release version of insect control was going to save or even change the world, but I couldn't help but smile at her belief that she could indeed change her part of the world. I got misty-eyed as she strolled to the door and released the fly outside, watching it enjoy it's final moments of freedom before the attack of the frogs, calling out, "Fly free, little guy," all the while leaving the door wide open behind her letting in three flies, a wasp, a grass spider and a moth.


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