A fruit fly drowned in the fermentation lock of my bubbling crab apple wine today. I had tried to rescue it but only succeeded in causing it to fall into the gadget’s watery air trap. Mrs Llew was worried about whether the tiny creature would get into the wine. I recalled a friend who claimed (don’t try it yourselves) her grandmother would drop the odd dead mouse into country brews, because it would give a kick to the yeast.
To that little fly, the two or three teaspoons of water which were its end, would have been an ocean. We didn’t discuss further whether a fruit fly has consciousness. Comparatively I suppose we humans would not even equate to a fruit fly against the scale of the cosmos.
Whatever the scale of things I want to get things right – and put things right where I can. As one gets older, memories from long past surface and I see old events anew, and in contexts not perceived at the time. Looking back, it’s as if we were half asleep as we ploughed on through years of ‘getting and spending’. The world, as Wordsworth said, was ‘too much with us’. It had to be.
Well, we do have consciousness. Mrs L and I today discussed mint sauce and recalled our first months of marriage. Pompously I had said to her, 50 years ago, that mint sauce went with lamb and mustard with beef. Argument closed. We were discussing this evening’s meal of poached salmon which came with minted mushy peas.
‘I didn’t know what was beef and what was lamb’, she told me today.
I was deeply moved by this recalled moment of our early innocence. I mourned too, at my arrogance.
I don’t know about fruit flies but our consciousness takes in past and present and (what else can I call it?) eternity.