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A Story of a Fly

Once upon a time there was a fly, big and hairy as some flies are. He was born in a city nearby a large river in Mesopotamia. There the young fly ate the flesh of a corpse until he was no longer a squirming maggot and had to find a bride to birth a new generation of squirming maggots. Listening to the wind for guidance, he unraveled his still tender wings and buzzed off. The fly navigated a warm breeze above the scrub of the desert sniffing for a good carcass to hang out about and find a mate. After a while he came to the carcass of a rotting gazelle which had expired, parched and alone. He looked around but everywhere he turned were gangs of smaller naked flies, the females of which were not interested in him. He smelled wrong, buzzed wrong and was simply too big for them. Being a fly this didn’t bother the fly so much as it prevented him from finding peace. So exasperated, the fly took off and feeling weak, let himself be blown even further away by the dry hot wind until he smelled from afar the bloating body of a goat which had fallen over a rocky ledge. There he found much larger hairy flies engaged in fierce battle with a colony of bats for their prize. No one took an interest in him at all as he was too small to be of consequence to them. The fly was really too weak to be of interest to anyone now, even a female of his own unique species of fly, so he let his body relax and be driven into the desert to become a feast for some other small creature. Over and over he rolled until his wings were quite dusty and his exoskeleton merely a shell of a once vital fly. The desert night came, and the fly, nearly expired, was too quiet to be noticed by the lizards and the mice which scurried past. And there was peace. All of a sudden, the fly woke up in a dark wet place, so wet that he was weighed down with water. But he was alive and that was something. And he wasn’t alone either. There in the deep well he had been blown into were quite a number of other things which had in their own way fallen. Most were quiet like the fly, or dead like the scorpion next to him, but one creature the fly could not make out in the dark was raising quite a ruckus, and this was what had awakened him. “Help me- cried the thing in vain, fluttering its useless wings weighed down with water and buzzing in futility. The fly could not help the thing escape, he could not even help himself, but he had enough strength to speak, so he spoke to perhaps give some measure of peace to this other thing. “I am a fly and how I came here I have no idea.” The thing stopped buzzing to listen realizing it wasn’t alone. The fly continued, “I had set out to be with someone and the only companions I found were discord and loneliness. Now I am here with you, a thing which speaks and which I can understand. I would help you escape if I had the strength, but all I have is my voice.” The thing was quiet for a long time and then spoke, “I came from a place above only to find the echo of my desolation. And now in my final madness I have become that echo which I despise. I hear myself speak although I have no words to give, no sanctuary or friendship. I am only for myself, a conflict of motion and being, forever. I am lost and without peace.” The buzzing stopped and when the end came, there was peace nevertheless. The thing drifted under the water and floated beneath the fly raising him up. At noon, the desert sun shone into the well and with its heat freed the wings of the fly from the weight of the water. The fly stayed with the body of the thing for a few more days before leaving. On exiting the mouth of the well, he was swatted by a goat herder and crushed beneath the foot of a camel.

About Aharon N. Varady


Aharon's Omphalos is the hobbit hole of Aharon Varady, founding director of the Open Siddur Project. He is a community planner and environmental educator working to improve stewardship of the Public Domain, be it the physical and natural commons of urban park systems or the creative and cultural commons of libraries and museums. His advocacy for open-source strategies in the Jewish community has been written about in the Atlantic Magazine, the Yiddish Forverts, Tablet, and Haaretz. He is particularly interested in pedagogies for advancing ecological wisdom, developing creative and emotional intelligence, and realizing effective theurgical praxes . He welcomes your comments, personal messages, and kind words. If you find his work helpful to your own or you'd simply like to support him, please consider donating via his Patreon account.

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