Friday, 4 July 2014

Summer FLIES

The summer heat of these long days seems to slide low; hugging the ground, trapping the drifting mesh of insects in a lazy, languorous dance. Not even the flies can find enough energy to fly. They walk up and down my arm and round my nose and ears, tasting the dust and sweat and human-ness of me... and for a little while I become important to the fly and part of its life...

I can remember my winter trips to the church tower, climbing the darkened stairs. The carpet (worn and threadbare), in front of the great wooden cabinet that housed the clunking, whirring clock, thick with dead and dying flies. Throughout those cold months I would very carefully tiptoe my way through this mass of black bodies lest one more should die. People in the village had asked if they could come up the tower with me to see the clock and to look down on the village from above, but I would put them off; unable to bear the idea of more feet tramping through this ghastly hades of flies that was washed weekly with hymns and prayers from below.

I watched them slowly and painstakingly crawl, often with just two or three legs working, clawing their way to apparent safety, away from the threat of my shadow. I recognised their will to live. Often they got caught on the nylon strands of carpet, trapped, sometimes up-ended. And I would rage. And as each week passed, my rage grew stronger. I raged against the brutishness of life. I railed against my understanding of God and a creation that could set me free and yet sink me into darkness. If God was any God at all, he must too be the God of this place?

There were times I silently crawled on hands and knees teasing their limbs from the carpet fibres, gently trying to place them once more on their feet; trying to lift them up to the safety of a pile of unused bell-ringers' mats that had been stacked in the corner; trying to understand; trying to make sense; trying to know how to respond...

At other times, I just sat with them in silence, knowing that one day I too would find my own winter bell-tower and feel life seep (fast or slow) away from me. Would spring sunlight fall through those cobwebbed window slits and fill the world once more with the scent of growing grass?

And then there were times when I raved. I dared to feel the lion's breath upon my neck as I held God to account. I spat back all the comfort that I had felt as a child having been told of the loving ways of a fatherly God. I would not kill them. I would not kill these little bodies of life that had clung to this world, in the dark coldness for months. That did not WANT to die; that WANTED, like me, to live. My shadow, that for so long they had so weakly fought to escape from, would not herald the end their lives.
"Is this what it is to have dominion over the earth?"
 "If these are to die, you do it yourself and you better make damned sure that they don't suffer while you do it."
But the musty stonework echoed implacably to the sound of my voice and anger as I cursed and swore at the heartlessness of life...

... as I move my arm, the flies reluctantly fly off and I recede into the landscape (the hat propped on the garden table, the tree stump covered with ivy, the dog's ball lying on the lawn) and I, once more, cease to exist...
              ... and yet, I am the richer for it.

A fly lands in the coolness that my shadow casts upon the lawn and, unaware of my still presence, cleans itself.


  1. "....look at spirit
    how it fuses with earth
    giving it new life

    why are you so busy
    with this or that or good or bad
    pay attention to how things blend

    why talk about all
    the known and the unknown
    see how the unknown merges into the known

    why think seperately
    of this life and the next
    when one is born from the last

    look at your heart and tongue
    one feels but deaf and dumb
    the other speaks in words and signs..."

  2. Replies
    1. Yes! That's it; the merging and the oneness. The way I am so totally other to the crow looking down from a tree at me in a field (to the extent that I, as a person, cease to exist) - and yet somehow that 'otherness' we share (the crow and I) welds us together in our experience of the field and of life.
      Hi you :))

  3. The essence of your captivating thoughts,
    draw me back to a practice that use to be so soulfully invigorating ~
    that path still calls to me , I see,
    Time for a walk .

    Thank you for sharing your passion.

    He who knows others is wise;
    He who knows himself is enlightened.

    1. I cannot think of a greater compliment! Thank you.
      There is something deeply spiritual and soulful about (certain types of) walking, isn't there?

  4. It's always a pleasure delving in to your world---the profound way your thoughts escape you, thus becoming words that combine to create such beautiful details.

    I have been spending much of my time indoors to escape the heat. This summer has been brutal, thus far. This quote by Virginia Woolf describes how I think the heat makes one feel...

    She did not want to move, or to speak.
    She wanted to rest, to lean, to dream.
    She felt very tired.

    - Virginia Woolf

    1. Gosh, you have my sympathies, Kelly. There is something incredibly enervating about some types of oppressive heat; it leaves us lethargic and listless at the same time.
      We've been having some sticky humid days too - we're not used to it in the UK! :)))

  5. I get lost in your writing. You are one of the greats and I sincerely mean that.

    1. You're back?! Thank you so much for visiting and as soon as the next week or so are over, I look forward to reading about all your adventures!

  6. This story remains always a sun that flies under the harmony of seasons.

    Yannis Politopoulos


For your voice is important... and words that are shared grow wings.