An ode to the toad … but before we travel down the story road of the multi-toad at our abode and what happened when I mowed, allow me to try to decode why we’ve gone into the high-toad mode. At least that is what you’re owed.

Have you noticed an increase in the number of houseflies this summer compared to past summers? We have here at our home. Sitting outside, we’re constantly shooing them away. Even in a strong breeze. We’ve had more houseflies find their way into our home this summer than ever before too. I’ve even considered hanging up a roll of that sticky flypaper to try to catch them. Hanging the fly paper over the supper table would be the best way to catch more flies. But my wife wouldn’t let that unappetizing idea “fly.”

I don’t think our hygiene is worse this year but I guess you’d have to be the judge of that. Our house isn’t haunted like the one in the book “The Amityville Horror” and other haunted houses overrun with houseflies … at least as far as we know. Our trash can has a lid that fits. There are no dead animals decomposing nearby best I can tell.

While some might try, I can’t attribute the increase in flies to the Trump administration. Nor can I fault the coronavirus. I can’t blame poor policing, the economy, the news media, or Antifa anarchists for the flies.

Should I be a conspiracy theorist, I might figure there’s some kind of ultra-secret foreign government program that released millions of extra flies into the environment to cause disease and pestilence and drive America’s bustling economy into the doldrums. Oh, sorry. That conspiracy theory is already taken.

Google didn’t have any answers and we don’t have Alexa at home to ask her why there are so many flies. What’s an inquisitive mind to do?

If there’s no one and nothing to blame, why are there so many flies? Well, we might just need to chock it up to nature and the natural cycle of life. There have been fewer flies in previous years and it just so happens that there are more flies this year. “Quit trying to figure it out, Fetzer,” you might say. “It’s just the way it is. Like a cicada emergence. You can’t Google your way to an answer to every damn mystery out there. Get over it!”

OK, I’m over it.

But back to the ode to the toad. This year we’ve been bestowed with a load of toad … they’re everywhere on the lawn and the road. I’ve had to be careful where I’ve strode or rode so as to not step on them or roll over them and cause them to explode. This morning my mowing was slowed by a busload of toad hopping frantically away from the mower to avoid being kayoed. So I captured and stowed away from where I mowed a handful of toad.

Compassion I owed and admittedly it flowed and then I glowed knowing I had bestowed more life on the toad. My love of animals showed, even for the lowly toad.

Though I’m over it, permit me to go back to flies just for just a moment. What do flies have to do with toads? It just makes sense, without having to Google it, that if there are more flies to eat, then there are more toad lifecycles that can be supported.

I’m no biologist, but it seems to me in my nearly 70 years of life that nature sort of works things out. The fact that there are more flies means that more toads can exist to eat the preponderance of flies, hence the reason that there are more toads that I must avoid when mowing or walking or driving.

Or it could be the reverse. There are more toads, naturally, so they need more flies to eat and nature worked it out to provide more flies. Therefore, it’s actually OK there are more flies this summer than I can ever remember even if that means more flies in the house. And it’s also the reason I can write this ode to the toad.

Why write an ode to a toad? It’s not really a secret code. Fly’s numbers overflowed. The toad found the mother lode. The number of flies will now erode … their numbers will be plateaued. All because the toad loves fly a la mode.

And it was well with the world. Everything He created is good.

Newspaper columnist Barry Fetzer writes from his home on Queens Creek.

(2) comments


I hope when I say how much I enjoyed that, and appreciate the effort, you will not think I am just being a hapless toady!


Toads Lives Matter

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