thoughts from late nights and early mornings

For about two days, there has been a large black moth perched on the wall above the door to the bathroom. You know the ones – moths the size of butterflies, but black as soot with two piercing eyes emblazoned on their wings. I remember there were heaps of them around the old heritage-listed buildings of my high school. They seem harmless enough, but are still spooky as.

The other morning, as I watched it doing nothing, and contemplated showing it the way out, I started thinking about what it’d be like to be almost perfectly still, in one place, for two whole days. I wondered about whether the moth was bored, or whether it even had the capacity to feel bored or dissatisfied.

I wondered, hypothetically, if it had the capacity to comprehend “life” and “meaning”, whether it would mourn its lack of either. If the moth doesn’t understand sadness, does it likewise not understand happiness? Does it simply not care? Here, however, I’m imposing my own human ideas of “sadness” and “happiness” onto something that is not human. Surely that’s not fair…?

I wonder what the moth would say of its own life.

Isn’t the contemplation of life, in itself, such an incredible feat?

of moths and butterflies

I’m not sure if there are actually more butterflies around the place than usual, or if I’m just noticing them more, but I feel like, recently, there have been a whole lot more butterflies around the garden, the park – everywhere. I don’t know where they’ve come from, or where they were in previous springs and summers. As I said, maybe they’ve been here all along, and I just have never really noticed them – or taken note of them.

Since reading “100 Years of Solitude”, butterflies always make me think of Mauricio Babilonia, whose presence was always marked by yellow butterflies.

Recently we’ve had some large black moths (sorry, I don’t know their proper name) fluttering around the house, and settling on random places – the TV screen, the face of a carved wooden figure, on my desk – and just in general being an annoying presence. I carefully evacuated several of them (and released them back into the wilderness of the back yard), but they didn’t bother me so much as they bothered certain other members of the household.

I’ve previously wondered why people detest moths but like butterflies. Those big black moths could pass for butterflies if they’d just adopt that characteristic gentle wing position that butterflies have at rest. (I’m not sure if this is scientifically true, but I remember being taught in primary school that the way to differentiate a moth from a butterfly was to look at the way it holds its wings when at rest – butterflies have their wings up, whereas moths’ wings are spread flat.) I’m sure there are plenty of other differences, but it’s funny how two similar things can evoke very different reactions.

Of course, moths probably don’t take offence to this; the discrimination probably doesn’t register in their minds. This means that my sympathy is probably wasted on them (hence I stopped being sympathetic and banished them from the house).

Thinking about all this makes me want to re-read “100 Years of Solitude”, even though I only finished reading it fairly recently. There was actually quite a bit about moths and butterflies and ants – the never-ending battle with ants. I do not like ants. I don’t think it’s possible to like ants. I’m sure the ants don’t care, though.

I’m not sure where I was going to go with this post… Thinking about insects tends to lead to contemplation of the meaninglessness of their lives – their short lifespans leave them only enough time to survive and reproduce. Now, thinking of ants and butterflies, and even moths sometimes, makes me think of “100 Years of Solitude”, which is, in my opinion, a very profound and compelling novel. Isn’t it interesting how something so small and seemingly insignificant can lead to such profound and philosophical thoughts?