Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Saw a Moth

Trey Smith

Yesterday, while walking through my laundry room, I saw a moth stuck in a web. I haven't dusted in this room for ages, so I thought it most likely was an old cobweb enhanced by a lot of muck. Just as I was getting ready to free the moth, I saw a spider making its way toward the fluttering creature. What should I do now?

I tend to be a tenderhearted soul, so my first inclination was to free the moth before the big spider got there. On the other hand, moths frequently get caught in spiderwebs and this supplies spiders with food. So, after a bit of contemplation, I let nature be. Had I not been there, the spider would have gotten the moth anyway.

Every time we free one creature, we generally are depriving another of sustenance. Which is more important? Saving one life or putting another in jeopardy of death.

Would I have felt differently if the prey was a beautiful butterfly and not a drab moth? Maybe. We humans like to make these sorts of distinctions. Because butterflies are beautiful, we like to think that they are good. Because spiders spin webs that ensnare unsuspecting critters, we like to think that they are bad.

But butterflies, moths or spiders are not bad or good. They simply are. And it is the nature of spiders to eat both butterflies and moths, if they become ensnared in a web.

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