Consider the Moth (Part One)

“There are moths outside, ready to die for a light they crave but which is denied to them, shielded from them […] Sometimes, in the midst of all I have been given, I watch the moths in us all. Everybody has a light which they think they cannot live without.” — Alma Alexander


I’ve never been a butterfly.

At a family gathering one of my second cousins screamed in the rec room, and I chose to remove the source of her ridiculous tween panic – a small, fluttering moth that was nowhere close to her. That mottled brown existence did not terrify me in the least. Neither did it disgust me, but I was looked at in disgust after I’d let the moth fly out the patio doors. Like I’d touched poison, sin, evil.

Why has the butterfly become so idolized, and the moth shoved to the corners of the dismal and the impure? Why do people mourn over the corpse of a crushed butterfly but feel no qualms killing moths with fly swatters? Granted, some moths are considered pests, but it’s mostly the larvae that do the greatest damage.

Moths are just as intricate in wing pattern and coloration as butterflies. Take the luna moth or the atlas moth. But more often than not, we don’t think of them when we hear the word moth. We think of the dull, mottled brown moths my second cousin so feared. We think of the death’s-head hawkmoth on the lips of a terrified woman immortalized as The Silence of the Lambs movie poster. Of course they’re beautiful. With a few exceptions, moths belong to the vast province of night, and although some butterflies fly at night, they still belong to daylight in our minds. And of course, day is far more superior/morally good than night. *commence heavy eye-roll*

Lately I’ve been more active at night, reading or writing or studying by candlelight or lamplight. I’ve grown to appreciate the moth during these times of restlessness. They do not take the light for granted. Neither have I, not anymore.

I’ve never been a butterfly, and I never want to be one. Trying to be something beyond my intrinsic nature is a losing battle for me, but I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything. I’m content as a moth, doing my best work in the dark, striving towards the purest light imaginable, towards fulfillment, always.


© Cat and Moth Writings
All Rights Reserved

4 thoughts on “Consider the Moth (Part One)

  1. I so enjoyed this piece! Warm summer nights on the deck, being pleasantly surprised at the sight of an unusual moth and the beautiful wing design, holds a certain magic for me.


  2. Well written and well chosen topic: The underappreciated moth, in the quiet and dark spaces. Congratulations on your first entry, Alyssa.
    I personally love the Polyphemus Moth; I found a dead one in the Kling St backyard, way back when I was in high school. To this day, I remember the specialness of that discovery .


  3. The night and what’s in it, has always been a place of enchanted reprieve for me as well. But I’ve never looked at it just that way. Quite lovely with a hint of lonely and that is how I feel at night. You have left me wanting more and isn’t that what a good writer does! ? Looking forward to your next post.


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