Moth Messages

Biston.betularia.f.carbonaria.7209A moth sat on the living room wall, black against yellow. It had the yes-I-am-here presence of a UFO or top secret spacecraft.

It was my first night home from fourteen months studying in Melbourne, and I thought the moth might have some kind of homecoming significance for me. I asked it what its message was. Nothing happened right then.

As I was falling asleep, I saw the moth in my mind’s eye with the words, “To change others, change yourself first”.

In the few months since then (I had a typo: moths!) I’ve seen that I can’t change others’ patterns, but by changing my own I have sovereignty and others will often change of their own accord. This has applied to decluttering, to goals, to life advice I find myself giving to others and realising actually applies to me. I can’t make others my responsibility, and neglect my own responsibility. The best way to lead is to lead.

I’ve also been contemplating whether to move interstate again this year, or start at my new university next year. A few weeks ago, another moth – this time with a lava-orange back and wings which, when closed, resembled a volcano – was in about the same spot on the wall as the first moth. I didn’t ask her message. I don’t think I wanted to know.

She stayed for days. One night I walked up to her and asked her if she had something to say, and heard “Time to move on”. I thought maybe I was imagining it.

That night I’d turned all the lights off in the house except in my room, and (oh no! Fluttery thing close to me at night!) she fluttered in. I turned the light off and put one on in the hall, but couldn’t close the door as apparently she’d settled in the doorway for the night. She was still there in the morning.

I pondered the moth while crumbling an ANZAC cookie over WeatBix, and started imagining the scene in Kung Fu Panda where the duck with an unpleasant message begs the violent snow leopard, “Don’t shoot the messenger!”. Twenty minutes later, I stepped on the moth in my doorway.


I was very sad of course.

Sure, it could have happened anyway – but I think things happen for a reason. Maybe subconsciously I wanted the moth gone. Why? Because I didn’t like what she had to say?

Which is the urgent message that I need to leave?

Did I just imagine that though? How can I just leave? I have been thinking about it.

I’m still here, thinking I didn’t do well by that moth and wondering if I got the right message.

I realise I provided very little background to this post and should make another site for the crazy content.


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