Memories surface with moth migration

Miller moths bring back strange memories. Consider the time when Jeff Korman, the football player who lived down the hall from us in my college freshman year, was eating moths to entertain my roommate and me.

I do not know why he was eating moths. I did not care why he was eating moths. I just wanted him to get out of our room and leave us alone, so I could finish my homework.

Unfortunately, my roommate found his antics amusing.

The miller moth barrage that we are currently experiencing does, however, bring back other, fonder memories. During my childhood, we did not have air conditioning, as many homes in Western Pennsylvaniastill probably do not. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table in my pajamas, watching the moths bat themselves against the screen, attempting to get at the light. That was in the days of milk and cookie bedtime snacks.

Moths have been a part of nearly every camping trip I have ever been on.

In the great freedom of the mountains or a lakeshore, they are not nearly so irritating, as they have lots of space to fly around, in between attempts to get on one's nerves.

Unlike some folks I know, I have never derived any particular joy from watching them commit suicide by campfire, any more than I would have derived any particular joy from putting an arrowhead through the rattlesnake I passed up the chance to kill, while hunting on the caprock last weekend. The more available space, the more tolerance bred for pests.

With the current deluge of small nocturnal lepidopterans, there is probably a great deal of rejoicing among the bird population. Nighthawks, of course, rely heavily on moths for food, as do many swallows.

Since the moths currently among us are so bodacious as to be flying in broad daylight, I would not doubt that other, diurnal birds have also added them to the lunch list. I can imagine some avian mother bringing a moth to her fledglings, telling them "How do you know you don't like it, if you've never tasted it?"

Finally, of course, there is "The Mothman Prophecies." [ 2002] Great movie, made greater by the fact that I vaguely remember hearing the rumors about the events covered in the film when I was a kid in elementary school. (Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the site of this marginally validated tale, is not far from where I grew up.) The tale concerns a winged being which appears as a harbinger of death.

I would highly recommend it, but maybe not at this particular time. It might cause you to view the current moth migration in a different, and far more sinister, light.

Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis Christian High School. He can be contacted at: clyde_davis@yahoo.com

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