I was climbing into the shower today and noticed on my wall a lovely yellowmoth. Knowing that there would be water blasting there shortly I picked up a bonedry wash rag and gently pried him off the wall and onto the rag. I set the rag on thecorner of my sink and thought nothing further of it, I had my shower and my dayetc.About 20 hours later I went into my bathroom again, and he was still there,on the rag, but now turned upside down with his little legs curled in. It was sad tosee him dead, I wondered if my actions killed him. I picked him up and turned himover in my hand to see his wings up close.I was trying to decide which would be better, burial at sea or in the ground. Trash can versus flush, when I tapped on him a little, don't know why really, and hestarted to move very slightly. He was clearly dying, probably of starvation or thirst,the inside of a human house is not a moth's territory, assuming he was evencapable of eating in this phase of life. Now I had the choice of burying him alive,drowning him, crushing him, or leaving him to complete his slow journey towardsdeath. And I was struck by the distinct lack of options I would consider benevolent.I simply didn't have the option of giving him more enjoyable life. Here I am, athinking healthy human, millions of years ahead of this poor moth in terms of evolution. Technologically speaking I might as well be a god to this moth. I haveprocessing capacities in my skull that probably outstrip the whole rest of his speciestaken together. And still, there was nothing good I could do for him. That's
tome.But I am proud of myself, because not until this writing did the familiarplatitude "death is a natural part of life." Even enter my mind. And now it does onlyas an example of the absurd.I am also a natural part of life and I can make a decision, that platitudedoesn't relive me of responsibility to help when I can and avoid hurting if possible. Ichose to leave him on the back of my toilet. Being unable to ask his opinion on thematter I assumed he didn't want death just yet. Insects seem focused on livinganyway. I consider this cruel, but hopefully the least cruel of the available options.Life itself can be better.We should fix it.