Friday, 25 January 2013
By Joyce Benedict
Walking out of my apartment one morning to the parking lot, I was startled to see flopping on the pavement what appeared to be a huge butterfly. Upon closer scrutiny it seemed more moth-like with its shades of browns and beiges. I had never seen one so large. I learned that it was a luna moth.
My heart went out to it. The pavement was hot and it was obviously wounded and unable to fly. What to do? That ancient dilemma: leave Nature alone, let its destiny play out, or save it. If save it, what to do?
I opted for saving. Perhaps it was recently stunned. To avoid another car in the parking lot running over it, I took a magazine from my car, scooped it up and removed it to the shade of a very large bush nearby. In time, it would recover and fly away.
As I went in and out over a day or two the giant moth remained under the bush. Some years ago, a pair of guinea hens adopted the apartment complex and it occurred to me as they continuously foraged the surrounding lawns, they might discover the moth and eat it.
The “savior” in me got another magazine and removed the moth to a potted plant on my deck. Each summer my deck is pregnant with flowers and I enjoy beauty at its best including the visits of hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and dragonflies and the guinea hens in the winter.
Now that I had a closer look at this amazing moth, I was quite fascinated to observe its large furry body and strange face with eyes that seemed to be observing me! Its face had long, mustache-like tendrils cascading down, giving it the appearance of a wise old Asian.
We made contact, that moth and I. I explained to it I hoped that it would survive. I wished it could convey to me what it needed or what further I should do.
The next day I discovered it had fallen from the planter. I decided to put the little creature in a large saucer on my deck in a shaded area. The dish had grooves for water.
Absolutely clueless as to what it ate, I put flowers I plucked from my many beauties near it to attract some flying insects. The moth was alive, but something simply prevented it from flying away. I hoped soon I would see it recovered and gone.
The day passed. An occasional glance the moth’s way, saw him moving, but no improvement.
The next morning I arose at my usual time around 6:00AM. I went out to my deck to see my strange moth. What I soon felt was shock, turning quickly to sadness. During the night, a horde of ants had traveled up to the second floor, to my deck and had devoured the moth, save for some wing parts.
What unseen intelligence had told those ants that a dying creature was on my deck? I never had ants on my deck. Never!
I contemplated the mystery again. Should I have left the creature in the parking lot? Left it under the bush out front? Should I have put it elsewhere?
I was deeply saddened for that moth as I had made a connection with it. It had a face with eyes that observed me. I had spoken to it and had said a simple prayer that it recover.
That part of life we don’t wish to acknowledge, namely, the rawness, the eye-for-an-eye element, the eat-or-be-eaten rule had triumphed again. Death was smelled. Nature wastes nothing. The ants had a meal in order to survive for one more day.
I wanted to have been the savior of that huge moth. I wanted to believe I was an instrument of some higher being that loved that moth and wished for its protection and well-being. I wanted to believe that I made a difference that day, that I touched a life, that life touched me.
It did. The outcome was simply not as expected.
[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]