Writings by Tim Girvin
The Moth

July 4th, 2002.

I've been working on some domestic, moving projects. I live in an old school building, up above Seattle, on Queen Anne Hill; the structure was created in the early 20th century; it's been converted to condominiums, each classroom -- a studio. Cleaning clutter, I'd carried some materials out to the hall way, to take down to storage.

And there, lying next to the elevator was a darkened, little curling of bark...a pine cone? But, how did this curled leaf, this sheath of bark, an unrecognizable pine cone get in here, I wonder? This is so far from the windows, there are no pines nearby, the wind borne openings to the outside are closed...

There was something of an unmistakable symmetry in this wonderful object, so I reached down, just to see what type of "cone" this might be. I'd never seen a cone, quite like this...what tree, I wonder? Where?

Instead, it revealed itself to be a moth. And, unfurling as I pick it up, it was a origami, unfolding itself to show a more expansive patterning.

It is something exquisitely alien. I've never seen a moth like this. It fills the cup of my hand, it balances on my fingers. I've attached a picture.

I was thinking that it was dead perhaps -- on first discovery. Or nearly so -- or injured -- but it's not...it began to climb my wrist. Meanwhile, I've got all these boxes and bags in my arms, so I let it climb along, while I carry these items away. And it inches its way, upwards.

And, of course, in the hallway, others amble by. And there is a fluttering, struggling with the gravity and the scale of its body, as rises, this moth makes it way, up my arm, my shirt sleeve, my shoulder. And soon, it's on my neck, while both arms are occupied with the weight of the boxes...and it's whispering its wings, making its way to the nape of my neck, the hair on my head -- another obstacle -- to the top of my skull. And finally, it's there -- like a kind of diadem. A moth king...

I still carry the boxes.

And I meet another person in the hall. There's a greeting...from me and the Moth.

Yet they don't (seem to) notice that I have this special crown. Either that or the idea of someone walking around with a large, fluttering moth on his head, in the hallways of the old school building where I live, is simply too much to fathom. Better keep moving...

Getting back to the unit, I looked at the moth more closely. She was beautiful, streaked with warm browns and lined with delicate tans -- like brushstrokings, her legs a complex array of tiny, curved grasping strokes of chitin, her large abdomen -- a fabrication of insect "fur": mottled tones and striations, but beneath her major wings, there is a shocking revelation of pink -- a kind of striking salmon coloration, beneath the camouflage of the outer expressions of her winged nature. She was large -- unexpectedly, as she spread her wings. And, adjacent to her extraordinary eyes, which sparkled with the hundreds of facets that she was, likely, using and gazing upon me, (for she could see all around her) are the most delicate fern-like leaves of antennae -- they shuffle slightly...sorting out the breeze, the scents. They are reaching about, independently.

I took her over to the orchids in my space and let her rest...She hanged there, quietly -- like an aberrant flower in the arrangement of blossoms. Yet, somehow -- she fits right in.

And after spending some time together, she was on her way, out the window, following the breeze of her little beating heart. On her way to the light outside, seeking others to surprise.

She was there, a crumpled leaf, a curled conifer seed pod, spent...at the end of days -- and then she revealed herself to be something supernatural. She folded out, fluttered -- showed herself to me.

Seeking beauty, it reveals itself. If one stays open to surprise, the presence (presents?) are uncovered...

Therein, the prize of discovering...

Her name, Sweetheart Underwing -- according to my butterfly books.

What discovery shall reveal herself?

Have a wonder-full day.
TSG

(Originally sent: Wednesday, June 26, 2002)

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