Fly Specks

crystals (2) We’ve been having interesting weather this past week. It’s been unseasonably cold – we’ve had highs of -1°C, which is not normal for this time of year – but to make up for it, it’s been brilliantly sunny. The winds have whipped most of the leaves off the trees now, so the light falls through the bare branches, and the brightness is dazzling.

My house faces east, across a small valley, and my spot at the kitchen table looks out through the windows. So this time of year, when the sun comes up over the hills – around 8:30 AM – it hits me full in the face where I sit reading my emails and flipping through my Facebook page. It’s glorious.

But the last few days, it has also illuminated, in full splendour, the specks of fly shit on my kitchen window. That’s right – fly specks, all over the glass. With the amount of canning and food processing we do in the summer and into the fall, the kitchen is usually swarming with fruit flies throughout late August and September. (Important fact I learned in the FoodSafe class I took recently: one of the signs of a fly infestation in the kitchen is that there are a lot of flies. Yup. Aren’t you glad I shared that with you? Now you don’t have to take the class.) And when there’s a lot of fruit flies, they crawl all over the windows. And while they do so, they do – their business. Defecate. Poop. Yes. Now, fortunately, fruit flies being of a rather miniscule persuasion, the little specks they leave behind are also really tiny. No worse than the tiny speckles you get on your bathroom mirror when you stand too close while rinsing your toothbrush. Really, they’re no big deal.

Now, this morning, my daughter decided to take action. She took arms against a sea of troubles (well, okay, she grabbed a bottle of window cleaner and a wad of paper towels), and by opposing, ended them (aka cleaned the fly specks off the windows). And while she was at it, I took down the crystals we have hanging on those windows, and took the glass bottles and ornaments off the window sill, and washed them too.

crystals (3)And here is the thing: as soon as we hung the sparkling-clean crystals back on the window, the kitchen was dancing with rainbows. The little sculpture I have sitting on the window sill over the sink, which is really just an assortment of prisms, a clear acrylic rod, and a cobalt blue marble, stacked for random reflections, suddenly once again threw razor-sharp patterns of light across the window sill.

I had not even noticed how the rainbows and the prism patterns had become dulled. It was only tiny fly specks, wasn’t it? Tiny little translucent-white spots, no big deal. But once they were washed off, the world took on a new sparkle.

crystals (1)I’m sure I don’t have to spell out the metaphor to you – you’re bright enough to catch it without needing the fly specks washed off your glasses first. Tiny spots of fly dirt – the flies that produced it long gone to fruit fly heaven – dulling the brilliant sun’s reflection. A wad of paper towel and a bottle of window cleaner, and the sparkle is back in the world.

Life, the Universe, and Fly Specks. A lesson on a sunny morning.

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