Designed for Flight

On my way to Fitton Green the barn swallows perch on the fence along the trail in their deep blue wings complimenting the yellow grass and reminding me how I love summer.

When trail leads into the woods I enter the drama of oaks cloaked in moss baring their long twisted history of vying for light. A deep brown moth flies out of the brush, pirouettes above my head and lands in the leaves along the bank on the side of the trail.

Moths have my heart.

Once I was pulling English ivy off the shed at my brother’s. The ivy held a lot of dead leaves and sometimes one would flutter upward past my face as I yanked the vines loose. It was eerie; these transient things were the same ochre and shape as dead leaves and yet they seemed alive, soft and defiant of gravity.

I slowed down thinking maybe a sly bird lived in the ivy but instead I discovered moths. What a magical thing to be so ethereal as to be almost imperceptible. And how mystical to be in their midst as they are loosed from the side of an old shed with the unwanted ivy.

Then there was the time a moth dropped out of nowhere and landed on my coffee cup as I tended a broken heart. I was drawn to to man before I even met him. His web-site was on a list of recommendations for counseling and his head-shot inspired a quick decision. Oh, I’m going to work with this guy, my inner voice said while wondering if he was single. My other, more rational inner voice was alarmed by this and offered up that therapy was designed to be a very separate process from dating.

I can’t explain to you this draw or how I ended up in this fellow’s office, but it felt like a moth. In the coming months I marveled at its intensity. She was so good at ignoring the one-sided nature of my sessions and believed that outside work this man was a lonely insightful writer with few possessions who played upright bass, loved nature, wore fedoras and would be a very sensitive and affectionate partner despite being a hermit.

My rational voice understood this might not be accurate. He might not own a single fedora. And while it’s normal to crush on one’s counselor I felt obligated to rein in the fantasy, to assert how it’s actualization would be a very wrong turn in life. The moth did not relent and I became increasingly uncomfortable with the content of my day dreams until he mentioned a wife. Moths, apparently understand marriage even if they can’t comprehend the boundaries of mental health.

I went to the coffee shop after my session to mourn the end of my perfect but imaginary romance when a real moth perched on my cup, white, furry and poignant.

It must be an intense sensation for the caterpillar to liquefy itself in order to acquire wings. So I let my preference to be self-contained go while having coffee with a moth, trusting that new and magical things could be born out of accepting this backwards part of my being.


Back on the trail in the present I climb through the oaks to the top of the ridge and lay on a split log bench in the sun. The cool air and dry leaves evoke a feeling of eternity infused into each moment and molecule. Its beauty is almost imperceptible. It reminds me of moths and how their powerful attraction to light could be a deep underpinning of truth. I know when I follow my own I become soft and designed for flight.

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