Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Intimations of mortality

Alternate title: Holy wah, that's my grandmother's hand!

I was wandering around the ranch recently, debating whether or not I wanted to pick some snow peas (they refuse to give up; the vines keep growing and putting out new blossoms), when an insect landed my hand. My first reaction was to freeze -- I thought it was a yellow jacket. Except it wasn't. It was something I'd never seen before: a fly that had coloring like a wasp. So I took a picture.

Downloaded the photo to the PC a little later in the day, and it was, like, omigod. That's my grandmother's hand. Age spots. Wrinkled. Definitely not something I should be thinking about asking the manicurist to enhance with hot red nail polish or glitter (not that I do either of those things now). When did I get my grandmother's hands?!

The reality is they probably arrived right about the same time I looked in a mirror and saw my grandmother staring back. I never had the experience of looking in a mirror and seeing my mother -- I do not take after my mom at all; she's 100% Finn and looks it. I got my father's Cornish genes and bear a real strong resemblance to his mother, except I started off as a blonde and she always had dark hair. She was already in her 60s when I was born so my earliest memories of her are of an old lady who looked a lot like I do now. And, yep, I had one of those holy wah moments then, too. Where does the time go?

We went down to Eagle River yesterday to visit the Older Daughter. It's one thing to recognize intellectually that she's old enough now that she's a grandmother herself. It's another to have it sink in that your kid is bitching about hitting menopause and having hot flashes. How did we manage to go so fast from talking about Girl Scout merit badges and homework to discussing Miracool neck towels? It's at moments like that it sinks in that I really am sliding into that older than dirt category. The jokes about not buying green bananas aren't sounding as funny as they used to.

As for the fly that has a color pattern really close to that of a yellow jacket wasp, it is (no surprise) a bee fly, a species of fly that lives on the nectar of various flowers and has apparently evolved to have a physical resemblance that discourages predators. According to Wikipedia, the Bombyliidae are a family of flies that includes hundreds of species, most of which are "poorly known," which is geek speak for "We caught one, named it, and have never found another." They are, however, considered to be important pollinators. No doubt there are zillions of them around that I'd just never noticed because unless one lands on my hand, if I see something buzzing around flowers that looks a lot like a yellow jacket, I'm not going to try to get close enough to get a real good look at it.

4 comments:

  1. Glad I am not the only one going through this mortality bit. Hit me a few years back. We have gone from becoming our parents to becoming our grandparents and never noticed when it happened.
    That is a lovely version of the song. I had not heard it before, just Judy Collins

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  2. I've gotten old in just the last year.

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  3. Welcome to my world. I remember the trip but I am still not sure how I got here.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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