I sat at my desk, staring at the dreaded flashing cursor on my computer screen, waiting for inspiration to strike. Understandably, I am suffering from a bit of writer’s block. After all, how much encouragement can I put into each column each week, when I am living through the same year as my readers? In addition, I cannot “unplug” from the news; the news is my career and life.
Without the option to completely unplug, I’ve found myself taking a lot of breathing breaks. So, without a lightening bolt of inspiration to cure my writer’s block, I stepped out of the office for some fresh, socially distant, air.
A storm had just passed through downtown Bluefield on a dreary Thursday afternoon. I stepped out the doors, ready for a deep breath of the rain-scented air and instead, was hit by a moth. A large moth, injured from the thunderstorm had careened into my face and caught itself on my scarf.
I stopped and stared down into his large eyes for a moment. I am not afraid of insects, so his resting on my scarf was not a reason for fear in my mind. It was a moment to stop, breath and take stock. I attempted to let him crawl on my finger and transfer him to a nearby shrub, but that only upset him more and he ended up hurting his battered wings even more. I let him back on my scarf, and he was immediately calm. I took this as a sign to let myself, and this moth rest.
I sat outside with a palm-sized moth resting on me, and rested as well. Soon, my “quick break” ended up being longer, because I could not decide what to do. How could I help this poor battered moth? Could I return to my desk upstairs with him still on my scarf? The answer to the latter was decidedly “no” after a few coworkers spotted my new “brooch” on their way inside the building. So, the moth would have to stay outside.
I walked carefully, all the while, the moth resting on my scarf, to the trees behind our office building. I chose a spot I thought he would be safe from birds and other predators and prepared for the transfer. I held my finger out and after a few moments of moth antennae inspection, he decided to climb on. The transfer to the bark of the tree was uneventful and I returned to check on him throughout the day.
I feel the need to take a moment to recognize that I am not normal. I genuinely enjoy insects as well as most aspects of nature. If you have been reading my column for a while, you already know that my parents thought I would be an entomologist when I grew up because of my fascination with insects as a child. I kept a few as pets, and I cannot lie that I was tempted to do the same with yesterday’s moth, but in the end, I knew his time was coming to an end and he should return to nature, as intended.
I chose to believe that moth was meant to land on me yesterday to remind me that sometimes, you need rest. I could have easily brushed it off or just left it in a bush, floundering with broken wings, but my heart couldn’t do it. When he showed such an aversion to the wet leaves of the shrubbery and comfort on the cotton of my scarf, my heart softened. Nature, my constant comfort and passion, was telling me to rest and I chose to listen.
— Contact Emily Rice at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @BDTrice