Day Part Two


There was a moth in the shower. I didn’t realize this when I turned on the water. I discovered it when I went to climb in and discovered the storm tossed moth awash in the water at the bottom of the tub. My first instinct was to sluice water over it to try to wash it down the drain. Then I realized that it was still alive and I could see it struggling, and felt guilty. I stooped down and gently pinched a wing to pick it up out of the water and I set it on the windowsill where it was dry and protected from the spray of the shower and let it go.

The moth fluttered in my hand while I was moving it. When I put it down and let it go it fluttered some more- it’s wings were too waterlogged to fly and they kept sticking to one another and to the tile surface of the windowsill. I blew on it gently to try to help dry it out. The moth staggered a few steps on weak legs and fluttered again. Failed to take off again. It struggled into the corner by the window frame and stopped to unfurl its antennae, carefully, with the end of one foreleg. Then it collapsed and didn’t move again. Dead.

For the longest time, I couldn’t be sure that it was dead. It had just been moving! It had struggled in the water and struggled in my hand and then struggled to walk across the windowsill- how could it be dead? When I was sure that it was dead, I then had to ask myself: had I even helped by retrieving out? Or had I somehow injured it in the attempt? Perhaps it had struggled so fiercely because it had something to struggle against and by freeing it from the struggle I inadvertently removed the very thing that it needed in order to live? A creature rescued but not saved.

I suppose that I’ll never know the truth. I also suppose that the death of a moth has never been so remarkable.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 24, 2016.

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