Friday, July 17, 2015

A Casual Death

I once saw a luna moth, soft and buoyant,
floating around me in a meadow,
with a white-green cast, some heavenly visage
only lightly tethered to Mother Earth,
flutter in circles around where I stood,
long tails flowing behind and looking as much like
a ghost as I could imagine,

and I thought
how lucky I should be here at the same instant as her.

Pinehaven p. 157 William G Schmidt 1999

 I have thought back to that day of so many years ago and wondered why I have never seen another luna moth (Actias luna) in the 28-1/2 years I've lived here. Today that long stretch has been broken but I'd have chosen another time, another circumstance.

 When I returned from the YMCA this morning, stepped out of the garage onto our concrete porch, I saw this broken moth before me. I took my cell phone and captured this picture. The moth was moving still. Had it just hatched and made its first flight, only to be attacked by a bird? Its right wing was nearly half missing.
 Still, it worked, fluttering its broken wing, trying to make sense of its short life.

 I waited a while and went back out with my camera and took a couple more pictures. Mom watched from the kitchen door. "Should we take it to a vet?" she asked. Of course there was no hope for this moth. Even its left wing showed damage. It was just a matter of waiting.

 And soon enough the fluttering stopped. I picked up the lifeless body and laid it on the bench in the garage, protecting it from further damage. Even today's wind, almost imperceptible, caused the moth to move. Perhaps it died before the movement stopped?

 So, I would rather not have seen this, watching something almost spiritual die. Life seems heavier because of it. We are all too tightly tethered to earth today.

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