Feature Story

The night messenger

Moth in the bottle
Moth on the wall
Moth on the wall
Spread your wings and let the light go through
Moth in the spotlight
Resting my ... wings for a while
If I could write my thoughts...
Moth's paradox
Moth in the bottle

When you have been living in a big city where population density is closed to 25.000/km2 and people's toxicity comingles with pollution, where the pounding noise of gentrification and building sites erected over night do not allow you to get a proper sleep or to focus on your work, feeling yourself down, overwhelmed, comes of no surprise.

One late summer evening I was laying in my bed, listening to the incessant hum of city and to the neighbours' ruckus. The windows were wide-open and the dim light of the bed lamp casted irregular shadows on the walls. Another warm night ahead, following the previous 4 nights in a row when the temperature didn't go below 29 degrees.

And something strange and, miraculous, at the same time, happened... a beautiful moth flew in and settled on the wall.


Just a few days before, while dining with my family, we remembered the summer nights when we were listening to the crickets chirping, by the time we were living in the countryside. And, with a wistful air, I recalled the clear and quiet nights when, as a child, I was trying to stay awake as much as possible and take in the whole concert of crickets and moonflowers scent. Alas, this always turned out to be the perfect lullaby while I was softly sliding towards Morpheus arms.

Though, for no reason, my mind summoned an unique moment of my childhood: one summer night, when I was about to go to bed, a huge hawk moth flew inside the room. I remember it like it was yesterday: it was brown with yellow, rather yellow dirt color. With a wingspan around 10 cm, it was the biggest moth I've ever seen. It had a strange pattern on his back, slightly resembling a skull - later I found out this moth was called Death's head hawk moth (Acherontia atropos) and they are rarely seen. At that time, I was collecting insects to build up an insectarium for the school. I had already an impressive collection, but they were mostly small to medium insects. This moth would have been the showpiece, the jewel of my collection. However, the awe I was in, the beautiful design of this insect, the atemporal sensation, the wonder stopped me from capturing it and pin it to the insectarium. I was simply amazed! I wanted to look at it more and I tried to hold it for a while under a glass bowl. The moment he felt trapped he emitted a loud shriek, sounding almost like a cry. I shuddered and gave him freedom!..


How can I call it a coincidence? I suddenly remembered something unique, that happened more than 20 years ago and, 3 nights later, a similar event occurs. I do believe the nature, life, has its own methods to make us hope for better, live and feel again. Almost as in Thomas Wayne's line: Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up! (Batman begins, 2005), Mother Nature sends her messenger, this amazing moth, to learn again about the beauty around us and to see behind the noise, pollution and wickedness.

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—The JPG team

1 response

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (12 Oct 2016):

    I just found this story and it was very well written...Excellent images also of the moth. You have my vote and nomination!

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