This is the time of year when our little home welcomes (not) a host of eejit flying things in search of food and warmth. They find warmth sure enough, more than they bargain for as it happens thanks to our electrocution chamber, set high on the kitchen units. It’s blue light bars are obviously very seductive and we often stop our daily round in response to the fizz and spark a fly creates when making contact with 100 volts. We know when a wasp has made such a choice, because the fizzing and sparking goes on for yonks, backed by an appalling stink of burning flesh. Sometimes the shock is enough to spin the fried creature to the floor and my bare feet must be careful not to walk on wasps.
I know this all sounds deeply cruel, but it is mostly pretty quick, although not for us with a good sense of smell. Prior to the installation of this high voltage addition to the kitchen white goods, we were inundated with bluebottles, greenbottles and all other bottle-named egg-laying irritating summer visitors. I could rarely leave any bit of food uncovered. We don’t really understand why, as we don’t live next door to a chicken farm, nor are there horses in next door’s garden. The house is kept reasonably, but not obsessively clean, and the kitchen bin is small and emptied often.
This morning, as I woke to the first frost of winter, white-laced fingers of cold stretched over Tommy’s field, I thought about making choices. Yes, I know it’s a bit far-fetched to suggest that a fly with huge eyes and a very small brain could possibly say, with hindsight, that perhaps diving into the fire was not it’s finest decision, but, we could, for we have small eyes and a huge brain and thus decide our own fates, to a great degree. I thought about all my poor decisions, and ran out of fingers. Fortunately, I cannot remember them all, for there were many and will be more. Thing is, we make choices based on not just the situation, but how we feel about it. Sometimes it is mighty difficult to be objective in an assessment of those two uncomfortable bedfellows. Assessing a situation, well, that’s okay, I can do that. You may not see it the same way, but at least we both have something visual, something solid to poke at, to give shape and form and texture to.
But how we both feel about it, well that can change everything. You might say I am wrong to feel the way I do, referring back to the situation, the physicality of it’s form. Even if we both completely agree on how we see it, a different emotional response is inevitable, and those emotions are what guides our hearts.
Perhaps the key is to keep quiet and say nothing. Perhaps this keeps us all safe from attack. But surely, if I keep quiet and you keep quiet, how can we move on, with all those emtions racketing round our insides like trapped wind? I don’t have an answer. Many of my poor decisions involved speaking out, and thereafter spending whole days in regret, madly trying to pull the foot out of my mouth.
What we choose to say and choose not say is up to us each one. Speaking out is an action. I remember being urged by one son to ‘hear the words behind the words’ when I was raging at some comment aimed at me by Granny-at-the-gate. She just said whatever she wanted to say, and I was sometimes in the cross hairs, but the real woman was a flaming marvel. She was loyal, supportive, funny, creative. A woman who taught me a great deal of things through her wisdom and experience. He, my son, saw her words as one thing, I, with all my hang-ups and a deep sense of always slightly falling short of the mark, as another. Without his view on things, I might have spent all week walking on wasps, whereas Granny-at-the-gate had forgotten it all by coffee time.
Back to the flying eejits. Although I have killer white goods in my kitchen, I also have compassion. If I see a flying insect caught in a spider’s web, I will leap up to free it. I know, it’s ridiculous of me, especially as I am so fond of spiders. I just hate to see anything trapped and struggling to escape. I feel the same about humans, not that I see many of them caught in spider’s webs.
Compassion is the key here. However differently we see a situation, however polar our emotional responses, if we have compassion, we can allow that difference. The situation doesn’t change, but we do, and, in the wake of that change, we meet the peace of acceptance.
And then we can look up to the great wide sky of things once more, and move on.
unlike the flying eejits.