How watching a housefly can change your view


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.

Image: Pixabay

2 thoughts on “How watching a housefly can change your view

  1. It’s so true that we assume things about the world around us instead of observing detachedly. And it would do us good to observe without prejudice more often. In fact, that is the basis of mindfulness.

    • Yes indeed Jane, I think we get into a habit of rushing around always thinking ahead to the next task, or where we need to be, that we forget to fully take in the present. I’m interested to learn more about mindfulness and use it as an antidote to multi-tasking!

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