Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Lesson of the Moth

 I took a little walk in the woods above my house on Sunday to reduce the stress of too much paper grading.  Walking and taking pictures is my favorite stress reliever.  Ironically, the one animal that caught my eye was this moth resting on the warm steel of our neighborhood water tank.  Ironic because I had just studied a poem with my class called "the lesson of the moth," by the late Don Marquis.  The poem involves a conversation between a moth and a cockroach.  They argue about the adventurous, risk-taking life vs. the conservative, play-it-safe sort of life.  The moth favored the former, justifying to the cockroach its proclivity for flying into light bulbs and flames. The cockroach prefers to play it safe and live longer, although he does seem to envy the moth's love of life.  So, how did thinking about this adventurous moth help me relax?  Actually, the particular moth in the photo was simply lying in the sun, sucking up the warmth of the sunny surface of the steel water tank.  That seemed pretty relaxing to me, and I was envious.  It worked.
When I got back to the house I noticed the dense crop of Spring Whitlow Grass was blooming in my dirt parking spot.  This tiny member of the mustard family is one of the earliest spring wildflowers, and it's so tiny that you could be walking over a patch of it without even noticing it.  Tonight, it might get covered with snow, but if that happens another crop will happen afterwards.  Witnessing that sort of resilience also helps me to relax.

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