It’s a beautiful spring in Tucson and we are on day idontknow of staying home to do our part in a global pandemic. Who knew I would take comfort in a crane fly

Before #[email protected], I knew they were there. They are hard to miss.  They are like mosquitoes on steroids. Daddy long-leg-like limbs, dirt brown wings you can see with the naked eye. 

But being home all the time, I noticed them. I REALLY noticed them, and then I became curious about them. REALLY curious about them.

Crane flies, or mosquito hawks, are gentle insects. They cause no harm , and offer no help. They do not bite innocent skin and contrary to rumor, they do not eat mosquitoes. They are snacks for bats and birds, and consume little in the adult stage, when we encounter them around porch lights, kitchen lights, and  bathroom windows. They sit in stillness on your ceiling and walls and on initial sight, we misjudge them as a nuisance.

Around the world,  there are over 15,000 species of crane flies that live near water, but there are two species that live in the dry, harsh desert earth of southern Arizona. When we have a rainy winter, like this year, we find an abundance of adult crane flies living with us in the city, and in our houses. 

It is strange, yet oddly appropriate that there are two dead crane flies on my kitchen window sill, like a relic in Miss Havisham’s mansion. They sit beneath an origami crane made for a dear friend’s memorial service. We lost her to herself and in honor we folded 100 birds to soothe our souls and honor our love for her.  Water creatures, such as the crane, offer us lessons in adapting to change, having balance with nature, and flowing like water.

I haven’t cleaned them off yet. They are reminding me that life is short; do no harm while you are here; find meaning in the moments.

According to animal spirit medicine, the crane fly symbolizes theultimate human quest: what is the meaning of life? 

They are a reminder to us to fill our lives with  joy and to take care not to waste our time; but yet, to be still and to find yourself in that stillness.

Crane fly medicine reminds us to not consume more than we need. In consuming too much news, we become fearful. The TV delivers the message of scarcity, prompting us to grab more at the store than we may need. For some of us, we eat more than we need in hopes of easing our anxiety.

As adults, crane flies eat little, if at all. They are a gentle creature, they ensure they are leaving the earth as they arrived, for the next generation to appreciate. Take what you need, and leave some for your neighbor.

Crane fly medicine invites us to understand our worth in life, and the worth of others. We have never been so knocked on the head to recognize the value of our fellow humans; be they grocery store employees, delivery drivers, teachers, scientists, and health care providers.  

Adult crane flies exist in a state of near stillness. Those of us that are notessential workers that the rest of us are depended on, are depending upon us for our stillness, and for our recognition that our work is staying out of the way to do no harm to others. 

To quote the collective scientists at, “There’s hope. You’re it. That’s the work.”  

I cleaned off the crane flies, and another claimed a spot on the wall above the sink. It remained all day, reminding me the work I do lies in being still within myself,  experiencing all the moments, and appreciating the wonders of Spring.