The Halloween party in the village may be over but Halloween is still three days away.
Shortly before midnight, Sam came down from her bedroom asking who among our dead family members was partial to the color green. I paused and thought hard, started saying it was my grandmother but I took the words back almost as soon as they were out of my mouth because I remembered that my grandmother’s favorite color was purple, not green. Then, I asked Sam why she wanted to know. Because, she said, a moth came into her room. A green moth. And she had it in her hand. The moth was just resting there peacefully and it didn’t look like it had any intention of flying away.
In the next few seconds, three things entered my mind:
1. Aren’t beautiful brightly-colored moths often toxic? (I checked an old post later — the toxic characteristic refers to day-flying moths.)
2. The quality of air in the suburb is still clean enough to create a healthy habitat for garden insects.
3. Shouldn’t I discourage my children from entertaining that childhood fairy tale about butterflies and moths as the reincarnation of dead people?
Okay, it’s three days before Halloween and maybe we’re getting a little fanciful. Sometimes, it’s hard to shake off old superstitions. Not really because we still believe them but more because it’s titillating to entertain fantasies that there may be things out there that can make a great plot for the now-defunct The X-Files or Fringe. Or, maybe, we find some kind of morbid satisfaction in scaring ourselves silly. Isn’t that why we watch horror movies especially during the days that precede Halloween?
Whatever the reason and the circumstances over the arrival of the green moth, Sam and I had the same thing in mind — photos. I bothered to get the tripod (indoor photography at night is tricky without a tripod) and then I asked Sam to pose her hand this way and that. She was worried that the posing would scare the moth and it would fly away. But it didn’t. It took a few minutes to get six or seven shots from different heights and angles, but the moth stayed — quite contentedly, it seemed — somewhat enfolded in the curve of Sam’s hand.
Sam went back to her bedroom and came down again an hour or so later. I asked her what had happened to the moth and she said it was still there on the lamp where she had put it. Twilight Zone moment? Nah, but Halloween seems more fun when we spook ourselves silly.