Thursday, April 07, 2016

The Moth and the Playlist

My front porch is my favorite place to be. When we were looking for homes, we selected this one based primarily on the front porch that came with it. Well, that was my criteria. I'm also the person who chose a car based on the fact that it was pretty and had a kickass stereo. Because priorities.

We have places to sit on our porch, and one day when while on the porch, my husband pointed out a moth to me. It was a luna moth, which I learned are quite common but rarely seen. After a little research, I learned that luna moths live for about a week in this stage, don't have a mouth so they don't feed, and they basically exist to procreate.

As badly as I wanted to capture this beautiful moth, I respected his purpose and let him go. I captured him in pictures and hoped to see another one at some point.

He came back for the next three days. We found him perched on the column, chilling out on the wall, sitting on the rocker, fluttering around the flowerbeds. I got accustomed to seeing him every day.

And then he was gone. If I'm honest, I had hoped he would chose to come back to the safety of our porch when his life was coming to an end and we would both win; he would get his shot at hooking up and we would get to investigate the moth up-close. But he didn't come back. So we would look every now and then and wistfully say—remember that one time when the luna moth was on the porch?

Sometimes, when I go outside, I even go beyond my porch. I've been getting back out on the road and running again. The weather, while windy, has been good for running; a little cool in the pre-noon hours so it's not too hot. I'm not gonna lie, I am a total fair weather runner. I want ideal conditions, and living where we are now, the hills... oh sweet baby Jesus, the hills... make it even more of a thing for me. Because if there are too many obstacles in the way of getting what I want, sometimes it's just easier to forego it. Not gonna lie. At this rate, I'm not going to make my goal of running a half marathon by the time I'm half a hundred. I know it's important to start it slow and easy and build, but did I mention the hills?

One day while driving the kids around on five million errands, my iPod sent me a message. The little one asked me to play a song, so we found that song. Which led to another song. And then another. And then before I knew it, I was DJing a great running mix.

I hear you, universe.

So I took my list of songs and added a few more and turned it into a playlist and loaded it on my phone and laced up my shoes and hit the streets. I'm not elegant, nor am I fast. But I did my run, the 1.75 mile loop complete with big, giant hills, and I listened to my new mix while I did. I ran most of it, walked some of it, and actually improved a bit on my time even though it's been a week or so since I was last out there.

Post-run, on the porch and stretching is the best part of the run. Not only am I in my happy place, I finished the thing that's hard. I did it. And to paraphrase Dorothy Parker, I hate running but I love having run. Sitting down stretching and thinking about what else I needed to do, I looked back and saw a surprise.

Had I not gone on my run and then come back to the porch to stretch, I wouldn't have seen him there, hiding near the wall. This couldn't possibly be the same one from a week or two ago, so clearly my house is now a well-known luna moth safe zone. I'm good with that.

I didn't keep him but I did get up close and personal with him. His feet don't seem to grip very effectively and I don't know if he was shaking or mistaking my finger for a lady moth, but he was rather fluttery. I tried to find him a safe wind-shielded spot, but he seemed to prefer the safety of my hand. However, as much as I would love to sit on the porch and cradle a luna moth for my day job, this is not possible.

Instead, I repurposed a broken coffee mug as a moth house. I tucked him in and turned it so it was out of the wind. Alas, when I checked on him a short time later, he was gone. I'm thinking that broken cup will make a good fairy house (a project for another day).

The playlist and the moth both taught me to not just look or listen, but to see and hear. There are reminders all around us, if we notice them.

The playlist:

  • Freak Parade (Big and Rich): because when I start running, sometimes, I feel like I'm a one-person freak parade. #owned
  • Don't Shut 'Em Down (Flogging Molly)
  • Take Back the Power (The Interrupters): this is the song that started the playlist.
  • The Wait (Metallica)
  • Up to No Good (Rancid)
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go (The Clash)
  • That's Not My Name (The Ting Tings)
  • Scar Tissue (Red Hot Chili Peppers)


  1. That is an awesome playlist, madame.

    And I love how the universe is talking to you, and sending a moth to do its dirty work. It's so perfect.

    1. Thanks, dude. The slower BPM songs make me feel like it's OK to walk when I need to! I'm like Snow White out here in the country, with my little forest friends.