A small housefly landed on my yellow-eyed penguin coaster. It shuffled to the penguin’s white breast and stopped, dead still. There was nothing to scavenge, not that I could see.
In that moment I considered I had never looked at a housefly before. I had seen them in annoying plenitude of course. I had dismissed them with a waving hand, or worse, though not now, I had wiped them out with spray.
But I had never looked beyond the housefly’s dirty habit of eating shit and staining my walls.
I resisted waving the fly away and watched instead. It rubbed its front legs together in adorable fashion. I had no idea why it did this, but I was fascinated. Then the fly brought two back legs up underneath its transparent wings, and rubbed back and forth, repeating on top, as though preening.
I often watch birds preening, lifting first a wing, then a leg, spreading oil through their feathers and aligning each one, or pulling those past their prime, then shaking out dust and debris. I watch birds with interest and affection, but never houseflies.
Yet when we look beyond our prejudice, when we open our eyes, we can find unexpected beauty.
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