Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Whither the moth.

On Sunday, when my daughter was peering into one of my many, many shoe boxes--filled with one of my many, many pairs of shoes, thanks for asking--out flew a moth. A big one. I would have taken a picture except I was too busy screaming and hyperventilating and screaming.

"Oh my word," my daughter said. "Do you see that?"

As it batted its enormous wings, filling the air with a wing-batting sound kind of like when a helicopter lands right next to your ear, I cried to the Historian, who was watching television in the next room: "Honey," I said, except softly and sweetly but with a slightly scream-y edge of panic, "HONEY, there's a MOTH IN MY STUDY."

The faint and melodic sounds of the television show danced in the air. "What's that?" he said.

"A MOTH. Can you come rescue it?" Before I kill it with my shoes, I might have added, although anyone present would have seen that as the idle threat it was--no way would I touch that moth with my shoe. That moth was like the Goliath of moths. It was pretty, I could see that, in an abstract way--white with black markings and maybe some red? Pretty and scary and possibly lethal and definitely repugnant. Like, a guerilla moth. A mercenary soldier moth. Perhaps an assassin moth? I am no entomologist, but I am pretty sure that's a thing.

Later that evening--this, after the Savior of all Wing├Ęd Creatures (and also All Arachnids, and also me) had retrieved the moth in his hand (!!!!) and released it into the wild, where surely it would have more opportunity not to eat my clothes or shoes or lay eggs someplace unpleasant--the Historian said, "Why--I'm not trying to challenge you here, just asking--why are people afraid of moths but not of butterflies?"

A brief interlude upon the butterfly:

The butterfly, which wends and wafts its way upon the wind OUTSIDE where flying things belong: the butterfly, which alights on flowers and grasses OUTSIDE and perhaps migrates from Mexico and back again, all the while OUTSIDE: the butterfly, which flies and is not made of butter but nonetheless stays OUTSIDE.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled Moth Story:

"I think it's because moths come inside. And butterflies don't," I said.

"Ah," said the Historian.


  1. I love when you write. Please don't ever stop.

  2. I'm pretty sure those monster moths should not be on my deck when I'm out there. Even though it's out there in the outside, it's still nearly inside or at least in my living space.

    Lucky for me, I'm too vain to buy new glasses, so when I hear that wing-batting sound and see a huge winged thing dive-bombing about, I calmly scream that there's a hummingbird out here and then I quickly go inside and the mothbirdthing wins again.

  3. You know my feeling on moths and the doink doink sound they make hitting their heads against lightbulbs. Me no likey.

  4. You so funny.
    (this is what I have been reduced to, communication wise)on the first day of school.

  5. I'm with Optimistic. Ditto.

    And you've got the thing figured out re inside/outside. SO TRUE. Although Gwyneth Paltrow is afraid of butterflies, apparently. And I would know.

  6. I love this! Assassin moths, guerilla moths....I can see it now.

  7. I want to read this again tomorrow for the first time. And the day after that. And maybe the day after that again.
    Because I can see I am going to need a good and happy laugh and today I found it here. (thanks)



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