Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 12 April 2015
Arbeit macht frei
With the first of the warm Spring evenings, we have a few river-flies coming into the kitchen having been attracted by the lights and, by sunrise, I come downstairs to find them batting against the window trying to get out, attracted by the stronger light of the sun.
In early April, there may be two or three flitting about on the glass, and I spend about three minutes each on them, blowing, pushing and generally encouraging them to make for the open part of the window, which is a short hop over a five-inch piece of wood to freedom, but they have not lived long enough to know the difference between transparent glass and the unobstructed exterior.
More accurately, glass hasn't been around long enough - they have probably been evolving for quite a few million years before it was invented.
When real Summer arrives, they come from the river in their thousands if not millions, and my attitude towards them changes dramatically. I simply don't have the time to release them all without a vacuum cleaner, and if I used one it would kill them anyway, so they expire even sooner than their allotted life-span decrees, and lie around in dead heaps, which is when I do use a vacuum cleaner to pick them up.
In their twos and threes, I can really see them as little pieces of sentient life worth helping and preserving, but in their thousands I lose my empathy.
This is how the Nazis managed to get ordinary people to behave like monsters and exterminate millions of their fellow species, huddled together in comparatively small camps. What a brilliant and cynical piece of strategy, to exploit this natural and inevitable exhaustion by overloading the emotional capacity of simple soldiers.
Now if I were to look upon one single river fly struggling to escape into the outside in order to fulfil its brief and - to me - pointless life and feel nothing at all, then I would have probably have the right psychological make-up to be a fine and efficient camp commandant.