As my son and I approached our car earlier this evening, I spotted what I thought was an extremely large splatter of bird shit on the driver’s side. Upon closer inspection, I recognized that it was a very large moth. He and I stood around for about five minutes and marveled at the size and coloring of the creature. It was black and white with a pattern much like that of military winter camouflage. It is the first of its kind that I have ever seen in this part of the country, and we took the time to take many pictures of it. Then we carefully got into our vehicle and headed to our next destination.
During our drive my son continually asked about the moth, which was surprisingly still clinging to the side of the car. It had, in fact, moved its body to align with the aerodynamics of the drive. We drove approximately five miles and reached speeds of up to 40 miles-per-hour. Once we parked, I opened my door and walked past it. It then dropped to the ground and did not move. I noticed it looked like a wad of paper on the ground, and I had parked directly next to a shopping cart corral. I told my son to get out of the car, which he already had and was next to me looking at our curious passenger. He had not yet closed the doors to the passenger side, so I asked him to please grab the paper plate that was lying on the floor inside, a remnant from last week’s school drive breakfast.
He handed me the plate, and I gently tried to get the moth onto it. At first it did not move, but then it started moving its wings, and it clearly was not able to fly. As I assisted the moth onto the plate, I explained to my son that we should place it somewhere it would be safe because it needed to rest. I lifted the plate up to a tree, but the moth moved slightly and fell into a bush, where it quickly clung to a branch and instantly became part of the plant.
We stood there and talked about the moth and how it was now safe from harm because no one could step on it.
“Okay, I have to ask, what are you guys doing?” a voice called out.
I looked up and saw a man, who must have been putting his groceries into his car and watching us.
I laughed because our actions must have appeared odd to an observer.
“A moth clung to our car and went for a ride, when we parked it fell on the ground, and I didn’t want it to get squashed,” I said. I realized this could be perceived as weird, but it was the truth. My son then asked the man if he would like to see the moth, which he surprisingly did.
He came over by the bush and my son went about explaining the entire story to him, and made sure the man could clearly see the moth.
“Wow, that was very nice of you to make sure it was safe,” the stranger said. “And very good karma too!” With that he got into his car and left, and we went into the store.
I don’t know how many people would take the time to notice such a small creature, but to us the moth was interesting. I have always referred to moths as nighttime butterflies to my child because to many they are merely an annoyance, but to me they are pretty. My actions were not intended to teach my child a lesson, but I realize now that they did. I am reminded of the chaos theory’s butterfly effect, and that makes me smile.