On Finding Clarity

I stood in the middle of a chamomile field wondering why there were flies all over my flowers. Then it occurred that every living thing has a role to play in the ecosystem. Flies have always been here, and going about their business of either feeding on the plant or helping pollinate the flowers.

I’ve always associated flowers with bees and butterflies; beautiful things. On the other end, flies conjure up images of pests, dirt and rot; ugly things. As I looked at this combination of flowers and flies I realized I had two choices, to either let flies be or clean up plant debris around the flowers.

It’s been a very busy first half of the year, for me. On top of the upset caused by the pandemic and workload, I also had this persistent sense of unease; a vague dissatisfaction I couldn’t pinpoint as I pretty much enjoyed things I was doing.

Unhurried in the countryside, I had all the time to observe, think and investigate all different kinds of flies; their movements, behaviour and intentions. One of great interest is a crane fly. I learned that even though an adult fly is harmless, larva on the other hand can stunt growth or kill a plant as they feed on the roots. With that came clarity!

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. Clarity. How I crave it! Maybe I need a chamomile field buzzing with flies. Or maybe something else will startle me into having clearer vision.

  2. This is such a deeply philosophical write, Khaya! 💝 I guess it all comes down to perspective at the end of the day, how we see and perceive things and whether we choose to remain positive and see beauty in everything or not. Clarity comes when we least expect it. 🙂

    I resonate with the feeling of unease and dissatisfaction. It has been a difficult year for all of us. But hopefully things will get better soon. Amen! 🙂

    Lovely to reconnect with you! 😍

  3. No flies without flowers; no flowers without flies. No us without them. We’re all just a we, eh?
    Well presented, KR. Salute!

  4. ants get all over my peonies before they bloom! I just google it and found: The relationship between peonies and ants is a type of mutualism in which two organisms of different species benefit from the activity of one another. Peony flowers provide food for ants and in turn, the ants protect the blossoms from other floral-feeding insects.

  5. I’d opt to let the flies be too. I’ve had to be extra picky about what I prioritize during the pandemic. If it’s merely annoying and does no harm, I’m not going to fuss myself over much about it. But the spotted lantern fly invasion that threatens to impact local agriculture (and as of now, they don’t really have a natural predator since they are an invasive species) does make me more active in attempts to lower their numbers.

  6. I can so relate, Khaya, to the general sense of unease in the air, even though my life hasn’t changed much with this pandemic. There’s so much stress and sadness in the world, it’s impossible not to feel it. Mother Nature has been my solace and teacher during this time as if seems to be for you. Rest, breathe, get out in the sunshine, my friend. Be well. <3

  7. This has been a year for looking closely. I’m surprised by the hornets in our herbs (garlic chives and oregano seem to be favorites) and how easily one starts to feel shadows in the sunlight. Interesting piece.

  8. Like you said what first come to mind are bees abd butterflies, but hey flies and ants have their place to
    Happy you dropped by my sumie Sunday today


  9. I live on a seventh floor. This means that my wee garden and I don’t get as many bees and butterflies as we would like or need. But certain kinds of flies and wasps don’t seem to mind making the trip (and pollinating my blooms). The latter came as a point of clarity for me, too, some years ago–sometimes, what we thought was terrible might be good at the same time. Life and Nature are very deep ladies, aren’t they?

    P.S. It’s sooo good to read you, my sweetest Khaya.

  10. Yes, flies, and wasps, are important pollinators, too. Time spent in green spaces observing life at work tends to bring clarity, as well as a sense of peace for me. Nature is an excellent teacher and physician.

  11. I love the quiet moments when life reveals itself. This piece reminds me that if I sit still long enough, the mud clears–lovely write!

  12. I have to admit my knowledge of flies is sadly lacking. I’ve determined they don’t seem to have any redeeming qualities whatsoever!! You’ve given me pause for thought.

  13. I enjoyed this reflection. It’s a blessing to be able to observe and examine all living things.

  14. Flies have important jobs in the life cycle. Sadly, not everyone takes the time to stop and think about them, Khaya. I’m reading your well-observed piece after taking a couple of photos of my courgette plants this morning and watching a bee and several flies at work among them. How lovely to have a chamomile field! I’m one of the few people who finds flies fascinating and beautiful. although I don’t like it when they invade the kitchen and land on my food. I like how the piece shifts to the pandemic and the sense of unease – I have something similar.

  15. Such kind compliment Sanaa, thank you. You are correct, it is a matter of perspective and also choosing one’s battles wisely. That is, let the flies be. Say that again, it’s been a difficult year so far. I guess we’re all hoping for things to improve in this second half.

    Lovely to reconnect with you, as well! <3

  16. Hi Colleen! Lovely to hear that I’m not only one fussing around the garden but equally fascinated by the beneficial symbiosis among living things. And yes Google is a friend. 🙂

  17. I like your attitude, Rommy. This pandemic is also teaching me to prioritize and focus my energy on things that really matter. The fly invasion you talk about though must be a huge worry. On top of everything that farmers are battling with due to the pandemic, having that kind of invasion is no joke. I hope for success in their and your attempts at curbing the problem.

  18. It’s so true Diana, it’s impossible not to feel. Nature is my sanctuary and a great teacher, I’m grateful for this too. Thank you for reading, my friend. Stay safe! <3

  19. I agree, it is a year for looking closely. Because for once, we are forced to stop and pay attention. Shadows too like the sunlight. And ours especially can teach us something about life, if we embrace them. 🙂

  20. Yep, every living creature has a purpose and place in the ecosystem. Have I dropped by your summie…? I believe I did. 🙂
    Much love, Gillena. <3

  21. Ah, seventh floor! No wonder you have such gorgeous views. 😀 And I love, love your wee garden. It blooms wonderful things.

    And about flies and wasps, they are great teachers. They do a good job of pointing out that what we at first, perceive as terrible or a problem might turn out to be good one way or the other. Oh yes, Life and Nature are very deep ladies, indeed.

    Thanks Maga, it’s good to be back and to see you around.

  22. I do like the photographs/images you’ve shared here.
    I think many of us can relate to the unease and uncertainty that we currently face.
    I do my best to make the best of each and every day.

    Happy August Wishes.

    All the best Jan

  23. Many thanks for the visit and lovely comment. You’ve put it so well, it is in quiet moments that life reveals itself!

  24. This pandemic (and restrictions that come with it), I think has forced us to look closely. Sometimes out of the mundane something of value transpires or we get to see both the ugly and the good. But finding flies fascinating and beautiful! I’m not there yet. 😀 You are correct in saying you are one of the few. Nonetheless, I’m glad you get to marvel at the vibrant life in your summer garden. I know your potatoes are thriving, and I hope to see pics of your courgettes too. As for chamomile, it self-seeds and this summer it is plentiful. Anyway, thanks Kim for reading. I hope your sense of unease will subside soon. Be well!

  25. Oh, yes you are so right, Lavinia. spending time in green spaces brings a sense of peace. I’ve been enjoying calm here in the country but sadly holidays are soon coming to an end, and it’s back to the grind. 🙂

  26. Lol! I’m sure you can gain clarity even without a chamomile field. 🙂 At least, for me creating a quiet (mental and physical) space to process things often works.

  27. Happy August, Jan! I agree making the best of each and every day is a sensible thing to do. I confess, it doesn’t seem to come easy in our current situation. But I try.

  28. There are so many things revealed to us Cynthia, when we briefly shout out the noise and make space to see and listen. So many lessons learned from these observations too. 🙂

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