SURPRISED BY FLY #climatechange #reflection

The Future of Driving

July 30th and at last, the first fly of summer has entered my kitchen.


In all the kitchens of my childhood the innumerable flies came in wave after wave in early summer and continuously for two or three months after – noisome, fleeting children of the sun and atmosphere, like us all.


They came in swarms and there was no ignoring them and no avoiding them and no defeating them, until they all died off simultaneously at the tail-end of the grand oul stretch, while summer was extinguishing itself in the ashes of the first few fires lit to ward away autumn’s encroaching chills.


“Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport—Oh! with whom
But Thee, long buried in the silent Tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find? “
(William Wordsworth, Surprised by Joy, lines 1-4)


Long ago, in a timeplace we will never get back, we Irish had flies like Italians have mosquitos. For weeks at a time at the height of the year, they were never out of our lives.


It’s buzzing around me, right now, in my sitting room this time, sometimes darting in close to check out my airspace.


If there had never been flies, would there have been warplanes?


The flies told us their secrets, and so have lost their place in existence.


‘Hell, they would have lost it anyway, right?’


People my age and older will remember the trapping adhesive fly tape which hung from ceilings in the rooms of July & August long ago, nicotine yellow with sheeny poison when first strung up, but soon mobbed black with the captured, inter-tangled, variously writhing or eternally stilled bodies of flies, till the weight of accumulated carnage threatened to pull the thing from the ceiling and it was taken down, binned, replaced, the whole dynamic a macabre tribute to the excess fertility of high summer in the west of Ireland.


I have seen far more warplanes this summer than flies. The cause of this horror is the abomination known as the Bray Air Show, which attracts swarms of onlookers, just as sticky tape attracts flies.


Swarms of warplanes in the Irish Sky, replacing the flies, foretelling our future.


“He is their god: he leads them like a thing
Made by some other deity than nature,
That shapes man better; and they follow him, Against us brats, with no less confidence than boys pursuing summer butterflies, Or butchers killing flies”
(Coriolanus, Act 4, Sc 6)


How easy nowadays it is to practice the once onerous science of Augury! All natural signs converge to a vanishing point not too far up ahead.


That’s it, that’s the reading, that’s the prophecy – pronounce it dub style so it rhymes with fly!


Now that the flies, long fertility’s teeming infantry, are reduced to a mere rag of lonely partisans, we may begin to seriously doubt the continuity of the fertility of high summer, even in our anciently verdant west.


Do not ask for whom the buzz tolls etc.