As I walked barefoot across the lawn this morning, delighting in the nodding penstemons and bee-deep lavender, my pleasure was interrupted by an abrupt encounter with a small turd.
Fear not, I didn’t step in it. But oh, what a rude little serpent of distaste! Like the discovery of an overripe spot on your nose after a languid Sunday lie-in with a bright new lover, its presence spat me fatly out of my romantic reverie.
The young turd stared boldly back, throwing down the gauntlet of bad decorum and willing this old fogey to make a fuss.
‘Bloody cats!’ spluttered my mind, self-righteous with dirty-disdain.
A pause. A recognition. A chuckle. What codswallop, I adore my feline friends! So why this knee-jerk indignity at nature’s ways?
I looked again. Noticed the sheen of bluebottles clustered on its crust in earnest industry.
And realised: Life is teeming with such moments of choice, the majority made unconsciously. I could choose to see a turd covered in flies and play the tired old record of disgust.
I could choose to see a banquet of living jewels, dazzling in iridescent dinner jackets at their giant ochre feast! To wonder at the crusade of little winged recycling-champions going about their permacultured day.
I took a moment to admire the beady sequins of their bodies with their taut metallic glaze; marvel at the little mascara-brushed eyelashes of their legs and the maroon globes either side of bomber-pilot helmets, the stunning complexity of their minutely pixelated eyes.
I’ve always been tickled by the saying, ‘You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter’.
I’m even more delighted to realise there’s no need. Nature sends them their very own living sequins – with miniature delivery-wings no less! Oh tiny fecal fairies, if we consciously clean our minds of prejudices, judgments and beliefs we can see how miraculous you are, and the parable of truth you represent.
Just like the Universe, flies lay their eggs in life’s excrement because it’s such rich nutrition for growth. So no matter how unpleasant things seem, there’s always a hot steam of transformation in every cowpat and a glitter of jewels on every turd.
The trick is to take off our smeary mind goggles.
And learn to truly see.
I’ve had many surprising incarnations in this life so far; academic, nursing assistant, footballer, rugby player, au-pair, epidemiologist, fancy-dress enthusiast, ice-hockey player, circus performer, professional gardener, artistic doodler and occasional duck. But in forty years, writing is the one area I’ve most deeply yearned to express myself but rarely found the courage or pluck. And so now I’m travelling this inner journey of exploration and expansion at last, a curious cartographer of inner worlds and outer reflections in the mirrors of life, gently unpeeling layers of my created self to unearth the rich bedrock beneath. And I offer my journey here, to whoever it may reach, as a token of connection, courage, love and trust.