reading time: 3 minutes
Written By Travis Knight
Moths have always fascinated me. I am not quite sure why, but there is a facet of their characters that has always stirred awake great intrigue. Call it grace, harmony, life—there is just something about moths that encapsulates beauty when their magnificence shoots across my sight.
I remember as a child—and even today, if I am being honest—that the pester of an insect would draw grimace across my face. The buzzing nuisance exploded through the air, searching for the light that carried his/her death, tickling my ear with annoyance and discomfort; it just bugged me. However, a deep weight would always sink back down to its abode if I managed to make out that the flying object was, indeed, a moth. I would always stick my finger out—comparably to E.T. “phoning home,”—hoping dearly that the moth would land there. Like a needle dancing with a wisp of smoke, my finger would patiently follow the critter, and more times than not, my hopes would come true.
The moth would land, solid and confident, right on my finger. Barely containing my excitement, I would be able to peer closer at the beautiful insect. As my eyes came closer, I could see the bug’s great cosmic pupils searching my own. The trance would become so overwhelming that a bystander would become confused when they observed me; possibly uncomfortable.
But my eyes stayed glued to the moth as if this pest was my link to the other world—that is, what lies beyond perception. As I found myself wishing for the moment to never end, the moth would gallantly liftoff, and shoot into a frenzy above; scurrying for the light bulb overhead.
Despairingly, I would watch the wondrous creature dance with death, and like a fool following hope, I would try to get my finger as close to the moth as possible. Most times, the moth would not return, and usually dissipate into the surrounding darkness. However, one time was different. The moth had returned.
With contained excitement, I tried my luck and brought my eyes closer to the beast. It was beautiful. Its silky wings held bright orange suns, with pools of deep blues and slumbering purples popping up here and there. The furry face brought a hairy leg to its hummingbird tongue and gracefully wiped away the grime. Just as the astounding spectacle in front of me gripped my attention, the grasp gently let up, and the moth departed again. This dance of E.T “phone home” finger and frantic moth went on for nearly 28 minutes. The moth would leave, flutter around manically around the light, then return to my hopeful fingertip.
Although we were both aliens to one another, there was a certain calmness that washed over the moth when it landed on my finger. It was as if the insect was using my pumping blood to wipe away its stress—its worry and fatigue; a clean slate. Then it would ascend towards its grim destination above, to again dance with death, only to return beaten and tired to the surface of my finger.
I became prominently aware of this unfolding plot. The moth would land broken, then regather its strength, wasting no time to shoot back into the madness. Maybe it knew the only direction left was upward; up above towards that damned light. The brilliant luminescence erupted and drew in the unsuspecting moth. With rays rippling with an unknown excitement, the light bulb would claim its victim more times than not. Not this time, I hoped.
If I am to be blunt, the 28 minutes of moth and man was becoming exhausting. I felt it needed to dissolve, to move into time; a moment that was difficult now, but would be cherished then. It felt that the moth needed to escape my finger, and go to wherever it pleased. I wished for the moth to break the cruel cycle of flesh and light.
The moth lifted off my fingertip again. There was nothing different about this take-off, but something in my intuition told me that this would be farewell. So, on that 28th minute, I watched my furry flying friend frantically orbit the light bulb.
There I stood, stuck like a dilapidated machine; wondering if the magnificent vessel would finally make it to the light.