Do Moths Have Karma

Yesterday a spider came down from the ceiling of my office. The coworker with whom I was having a conversation, was nothing short of appalled when I captured it in a Ball jar and brought it outside. She had that look on her face of not only one who is afraid of spiders, but who thought me a total fool for wanting to spare an eight legged monster. The whole event made me think of a post I wrote last July. Hope you don’t mind a re-post. It just kind of fit with the prompt (fool). 7/2014: Do Moths Have Karma?

This week in addition to installing my air conditioner, I have been honoring the dead.

My cooling system is one of these big box numbers that hangs out my bedroom window and sounds like a train is passing through the back yard. It no longer has the two sliding pieces that fill the extra space in the window on either side, so I improvise with whatever I can find. Last year it was a few paintings I had never really liked and wouldn’t mind seeing bleed as the colors washed out in the rain. Of course I had to hose down the outside wall after every storm, but it was worth it. This year was nothing so creative. I happened to have a piece of foam board that I had been saving and cursing every time I tripped over it during the previous six months. A little duct tape, a bit of measuring and cutting, and you have an adequate barrier between you and the great outdoors. Or so you’d think. Every year I have the same problem, moths. Moths can slip through cracks the thickness of a dime. Every year like the arrival of sparrows to Capistrano the moths arrive in droves.In the past I have chased after our nocturnal visitors armed with a newspaper and a handful of tissue. This summer is a little different.

The man in my life was Tibetan, living here in exile, and a devout Buddhist. He would chase after me with a jar or empty yogurt container swiftly swooping in to save some lucky insect from certain death, releasing them to the outside under a tree or shrub where they could take cover from predators. He explained, the principles of Karma dictated, that any living thing may be reincarnated in another form, based on the merit they acquired in a previous life. So unbeknownst to me, I could be squishing some dead friend or relative.

He asked, “What if you came back as a butterfly and got swatted by a copy of Newsweek?”

 “I’m not that lucky. I’ll get caught by that little creep next door who probably pulls the wings off butterflies.”

 “Jeesh, just don’t kill bugs, okay? For me?”

 “My God, isn’t it enough that we relocate the mice in the barn to better neighborhoods? Remember last year when you fell over trying to avoid that anthill out in the woods? They weren’t gonna show you any mercy, they would have carried you away thinking they hit pay dirt.” He rolled his eyes at me and put out his hands in surrender. I acquiesced, “Okay okay, for you.”

Four years ago he anxiously returned to Tibet for a family emergency. The intention was to come home after settling some care for his handicapped brother. Not long after his arrival, he and his brother went missing. What many don’t realize is that due to political unrest, most of Tibet is not accessible to foreigners. The ability to search for anyone is therefore extremely limited. We employed the use of international agencies, and people we know in Tibet to aid in the search. This past March, we received news that they had likely been killed after an uprising at a local monastery.

I haven’t always succeeded in keeping my promise all these years. But this summer, I’m keeping an empty Ball jar in every room, just in case I have to capture and release a friend.

Two Shoes Tuesdsay


12 thoughts on “Do Moths Have Karma

  1. ah fuck. I feel all of the feels and this, after a day of killing about 47 ants who had the nerve to come into my bathroom! (bathroom! don’t they know food is in the kitchen and only 5yo pee is in the bathroom?????)
    Sigh. I’m terrified of spiders. Of bugs. Ticks are nobody’s relatives. But fine – for you and for him, I will release the moths this summer. xo



  2. This is beautiful. Why kill anything unnecessarily just because it has more legs than you or none at all, even because you are a bit jealous that this small insect can fly and you can’t? Humans have this unholy glee in killing things…we should all embrace a little karma in our lives. It might make us happier and appreciate the world a little more.


  3. Does swatting mosquitoes that are sucking your blood count? I try to liberate flies, moths and spiders but those mosquito bites suck. I do think we all come back as a fly for a brief time for the experience

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Being from India, I definitely believe in Karma & reincarnation.
    We don’t know what really happens and who we get to encounter.
    Sad to learn of your friend. But, even the killers get punished- that’s their Karma…


  5. The sentiment and story behind this made me cry, but I had to smile at the end… just maybe! I used to be a “kill-it” person, if it was in my way, or where it wasn’t wanted – get rid of it! I am far more inclined now to say “relocated it”… though in the case of a snake I mean relocated it far… FAR… away. I hope no one I care about returns as a mosquito, because they are not on my list of friendly visitors, and sadly, my furkids find moths to be quite delicious!!!


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