Alternate title: Fly UnitedNotice how very different these lovely paramours are as they face to opposite poles in this most intimate of moments.

He, the smaller, has much the bigger eyes proprotionally. His visual world through green eyes, then, is likely far different from hers through blue. Things invisible to her he sees with greatest clarity–a matter of survival, or aesthetics perhaps.

She had sent me off on an urgent errand: retrieve the dog who was running off down the road. I shrugged on my boots in grumbling obedience, and tromped down the front steps, leash in hand.

But wait! Check out these ziggy flies! I called back, running inside for my camera.

He’s running down the road, you idiot!

Yeah, but look carefully how different these beauties are. It’s called dimorphism, I explained to her. She harrumphed in disgust.

I rest my case.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Isn’t it lovely how these splendid serendipity moments show up in our lives when we least expect them? I go off to purchase tea in a shop, weed the garden or walk Cassie, and there is always something to see and marvel at.

  2. Stunning photo, Fred, and an amusing commentary to go with it. I was just trying to photograph on those suckers on a peony flower this morning, but it got away.