“Birds are the eyes of heaven, and flies are the spies of hell.”

The wind is blowing, the air is humid, the sky is cloudy and it will be hot today. Thunderstorms are predicted for late this afternoon. Last night there was rolling thunder. Henry looked up from the bed but decided he was in no danger so he went back to sleep. Nala never noticed.

I have more trash than I have room for in my car so I’ll take a trip to the dump this afternoon. I have an appointment in Hyannis after which I’ll do the dump run. The rest of the trash is upstairs and is from the kitty litter boxes in the cats’ room. The pile gets bigger every day. The bags get heavier. I’m too old for this.

I remember how awful the barrels smelled when I was a kid. Flies were inside those barrels and circling around the covers. When my mother asked me too empty the kitchen basket, I groused. I knew when I lifted the barrel cover the flies would escape, and I’d be in their flight paths. We did have a garbage container in the backyard, what today would probably be a compost pile, buried except for its cover which was metal and flipped open when you pressed the pedal. The flies were even worse there, and I vividly remember the maggots, crawling white gross little worms all over the bananas peels and half-eaten apples. I used to watch them for them a while. They never attacked me the way the flies did.

In Ghana, flies were ubiquitous. At first, I was grossed out, but later, recognizing a losing battle, it didn’t take long for me to stop caring. I’d just wave my hands to keep the flies off me and my food. The market was fly heaven. The aunties, the local entrepreneurs who sold produce in the market, used straw fans to keep the bugs at bay. My house had screens so few flies could broach the interior. Other bugs could but not flies.

Every Saturday night was entertainment night at my school. Houses competed in plays and singing competitions. Tribal dancing was my favorite Saturday event. Sometimes we’d watch a movie. My favorite was a cartoon about the dangers of flies carrying disease. The large cartoon flies, about the size of birds, flew into pit toilets, covered their legs with feces and then stopped on food. My students were grossed out as was I. Solutions were offered, none viable. My favorite was to put screen covers over the food, but few Ghanaians had screens in their houses so this was totally impractical. I didn’t have covers for my food either. I never even thought about having some made.

When I went back to Ghana, I easily fell back into ignoring the flies. I guess it had become inherent. I’d notice them when they landed on food, but I’d just waved my hand as a matter of course, and the flies would leave for the meantime.

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5 Comments on ““Birds are the eyes of heaven, and flies are the spies of hell.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today was sunny and humid but the temperature was in the low 90s. We caught a small thunderstorm tonight. The cooler wetter weather will persist through next week.

    I hate flies and most insects. I understand having to put up with them in Africa when you were in the Peace Corps. 🙁

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      North of me, including Boston, had thundershowers and downpours. We just got wind and dark skies. The night is humid and still hot at 73˚. Tomorrow will be much of the same.

      I also hate flies. I don’t care too much one way or the other about the rest of the insect world. Flies are everywhere.. The cats chase any which get into the house. I hate the sound of their buzzing!

  2. hedley Says:

    Its one of those days. Around 3pm England will play Denmark in the semi final of the Euro 2020 Championships. A win takes them to a final on sunday with Italy.

    England won the World Cup in 1966 , some 55 years ago and have managed to disappoint since then, never even making it to a final. My chum Steve and I argue about how much we really remember from 66 (when we were 11) , I claim more that him but that is probably pure revisionism .

    So I will be looking at the clock around 2:30 and making a decision to make a run for home or watch it on my office computer.

    The old country will loom large for a couple of hours with the chance to actually make a real actual final

    • Birgit Says:

      Oops, 0-1,… Go England!
      Hedley, I hope you can watch it! (So far it’s less boring than England-Germany.)
      Who will forget Wembley 1966, I was 2 🙂
      Yeah, 1-1 !

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I assume my Colorado family is also watching the Euro Championship. I looked up the score of England vs. Denmark and saw it was headed into overtime. Breath!! Breath!!

      I hope you chose home as your watching site. That seems far more comfortable and where you can get wild when England wins. I know how it feels to wait for such a long time to be champions, to play in the finals.

      Go England!! Sorry, Denmark.


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