The other day I heard a large fly as it flew around my kitchen revealing its location. I grabbed a magazine to either kill it or shoo it out. But then I came to a new realization. The tick-tick here and tick-tick there defined the space for me. The sound re-sparked my knowledge of objects in my kitchen.
Once at least fifteen years ago I could see my kitchen and everything in it. As my vision faded my home’s visibility shifted into a visualization in my mind. When we updated the kitchen I took all the old remembrances out and replaced them with the new interior. My house, its exterior and interior is omnipresent. At a glance, sighted people see the whole. It is only in direct contact or through sound or smell that I, a blind person, become aware of my surroundings. Now here was this fly. It flew against the tall windows high above my kitchen cabinets. Instantly I became aware of them. Not only the windows but the cabinets below and the new copper sink below them. I became interested in all the fly helped me to recollect – the large round copper plate from India, the bronze giraffes from an artist in Wyoming, my new black stove, the arrangement of pottery on top of the dark ebony cabinets. These things are always up there but I’m not aware of them. When the fly ticked its wings against them the sound defined them and I realize their presence.
The fly in the kitchen became important to me. Through the sound I perceived the objects and it sharpened my consciousness of the space itself. The tall ceiling, the width from one wall to the other the fly showed me the half wall where it slanted into the den It flew from the bar through the open door into the dining room as if it were guide fly, it led me with its sound from room to room, from object to object. It ticked when it encountered something. When the sound flowed freely through the space it indicated open space.
Later when I went up stairs the fly was there. Did it follow me up there I wondered. Was it a different fly? I couldn’t tell. It buzzed and ticked around for three days. I normally don’t care for flies but developed some feeling for this one. I greeted it, talked to it asked it questions and worried that when I get up the next morning I might not hear it anymore.
It defined my bed and bathroom in the same way as it did downstairs. I became almost sighted. At its tick, I knew immediately where the mirror was; the mocking mirror I look in daily, but daily it refuses to return my reflection. The sound of the fly reminded me of the mirror’s presence. The sky lights came into my knowledge, the bath tub the wall hanging the granite vanity the entrance to my laundry room. Just like a sighted person in a split second I realized my space again with the help of a fly.