My brother and his wife found the Luna moth.
It was nestled against the window of an unfinished building at a busy intersection that would soon house a bank, a hair-cutting salon and two other yet-to-be-determined stores. They both were hoping for a Mexican restaurant.
“Isn’t that amazing,” he crowed as I jogged across a parking lot from Starbucks to meet them.
We awed at the large, bright green moth. Its wings were larger than some cell phones, and ended in two pendulous tips. Two eye patches winked at us, a ploy fool predators, but I was mostly struck that the wings had translucent spots in the middle of the eye patches, like tiny windows.
“We can’t leave it here,” I said. I slid my finger under its body, taking care not to touch the wings. Insect and animal rescue has always been an unofficial job of mine—and I’m known for pulling worms from puddles or helping a spider relocate. Shielding the moth with a cupped hand, we walked it across the intersection to a near-by wooded path. No doubt it had gotten lost and confused in the night.
The moth fell to the ground when I tried to coax it on to a lilac bush. A second attempt at a tree trunk was more acceptable. The moth stayed put after touching the tree with its antennae. Having completed our good-deed of the moment, we were off.
A Google search “Large green moth” revealed that the creature was a Luna moth. Our sighting of it, especially in mid-day, was a stroke of serendipity. The Luna moth lives only one week once it leaves its cocoon. It doesn’t even have a mouth to eat with. It mates and dies. It has seven short days as a magnificent moth. Although, not endangered, their short-lived adult phase makes them a fairly uncommon sighting.
At night, lying in bed, watching moths outside my window, I thought about how everything is so fleeting. Our encounter with the moth was fleeting. The moth’s life is fleeting. My visit to my brother and his wife was fleeting. My entire life is fleeting. All of humanity is fleeting.
Yet every moment is so intricately entwined in the series of moments that preceded it and those that followed. The moth crossed the intersection and found the building. My a.m. coffee ritual led us to walk down to the intersection for the local Starbucks. My brother only walked to that building because they were curious for signs of the potential occupants. Any of those things could have happened in a different way and we never would have seen the moth. Such luck!
Knowing the moth would die in hours, or days, made my reflection of the experience poignant. The moment would never exist again. The moth would die. I would return back to my own city. The building would eventually reveal its future tenants.
Every moment is both a birth and a death the very moment it occurs. So if serendipity is now, we need to immerse in it.
Editor: Mel Squarey
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