August marks the beginning of a hectic period during the abundance of lazy and foggy summer days.
A quick glance might notice a small thing, but sometimes the tiniest things can do the biggest damage. Take youineola bissellielta, the not so innocent common moth. Like many problems in life, by the time we see the wreckage of the train, it’s too late: the damage is done. My summer was shaped by the discovery of the garment moth. Instead of traveling and walking outside, my main focus has been home.
As an enemy, the Webbing Clothes Moth means business.
Note its beautiful size, the golden color. For a moth, that’s really not bad. However, when your home is the scene of an invasion, your whole life takes a hit.
If someone had said that my summer moves depended on a tiny, almost invisible enemy like this, I would have laughed. Now, I wash many loads of laundry on the sanitary setting, dry them on high heat, stuff them in scent-free black plastic bags, and store them in airtight, lockable 27-gallon containers.
Is there anything good that comes out of the wreckage caused by these tiny creatures that I didn’t even know existed until I saw the remains of my mother’s favorite hand-woven wool sweater, dug into burrows by the larvae?
I had to clean up the larvae, the tiny egg sprouts so tiny you really can’t see them with the naked eye – hence the need to wash clothes on high heat or have them dry cleaned .
Is it expensive?
The time it takes to see one’s clothes again brings up memories, some sweet and some bitter, of past events and past lives. Each piece requires a decision that unfortunately I put off for months, if not years, so many seemingly tiny choices that added up to a major fork in the road.
Keeping the pink and purple kimono I last wore in the 90s after falling in love with the pattern at a fabric store? If so, is it worth the cost to dry clean it? Because the fabric probably won’t withstand machine washing on the sterile sanitary setting. If not, should I take a photo or just donate it? Am I likely to freeze it in a bag on the lowest setting for several weeks in order to freeze the larvae?
These are not easy choices, but neither is life. What we choose to keep, what we choose to release from our homes, and what we choose to strive to restore are all meaningful decisions that will change the trajectory of destined paths.
Five years ago I wrote about spiritual decluttering. Each column has a surface and a background. The surface was clear: an exercise in violent intrusion into my workplace made me reflect and put my spiritual life in order. The story I didn’t tell anyone was how I felt challenged by the gods to write about what literally mattered in that fifteen minute window because life is short.
My mother was dying, in a hospice with me. I slept just over three or four hours a night. We laughed, we watched Fantastic race or old movies, and we avoided the obvious. I hadn’t managed to lose the only person who had known me since I was born. What few people tell you about the death of a relative, especially when you have been intimately involved in that person’s care and well-being, is the space that is left when they leave. Their physical objects remain, but the space in the heart, mind, soul and body is immense. It takes time to work on it.
During this time, I saw work as a respite and a gamble. The kind people at Catholic Elder Care by Day and the local center for Parkinson’s patients provided excellent care as I raced to fit my work duties into tiny clusters of time left by the nurse at the hospital. hospice, the music therapist and the respite volunteer who came in for exactly four hours a week when I could do a ritual.
Although I don’t know it, the spiritual decluttering column would be the last before my mother died exactly three weeks later. It was Labor Day weekend, the start of the month, and time to renew goals. In numerology, September reigns supreme as it intensifies regardless of this year’s energy.
2017 was a “year”, a time of beginnings. As such, September left few barriers from a numerological perspective and a clear open path to grasp with ambition whatever the individual wanted. September was universally a “month”. This meant that the overall essence of the month was a two meaning connection, cooperation and using your intuition to follow the good advice given is a must.
During this month of September, I don’t remember much between the column, written the day after the violent intrusion exercise, and the day my mother made the transition. They are a blur best kept hidden. Only now, thanks to the moth, am I revisiting that time.
My mother and I have different life path numbers as individuals, but our personal year numbers have always resonated with universal year numbers. So in 2017 we were both experiencing the end of a nine-year cycle and the beginning of a new cycle. Contrary to all medical expectations regarding my mother’s rapidly declining health, her life did not end in those nine years. There was more to teach, learn and experience over the year.
Those last nine months of his life reminded me that joy and happiness can be found in the smallest things and events, like when we sneaked in to see Bohemian, my mother’s favorite opera, while she was technically in an institution. Like Cinderella, on Medicare no one notices until you’re back at 11:59 p.m.
I wrote down what I thought was important at the time to achieve the inner peace that eluded me:
During this holiday weekend, my personal goals are to recycle some books, review what matters, and renew my commitments. I give in or reject negative thoughts and goals. I remove what no longer suits the space or the life I wish to live. I stand in truth and honesty with the labels others have given me or those I have given myself. Do they still fit? Do they matter?
All in all, the wisdom I thought I had found was suspended in time. I needed to be physically present for my mother’s transition. I couldn’t support myself because the living watch over the last moments of the dying. Pretending to do both simultaneously is not just a recipe for disaster, but a missed opportunity.
As a pagan, I am taught to see life in its myriad complexity as a gift, a challenge, and a world filled with possibility and meaning. My worship and my connection with the gods prompts me to note the places where vulnerability and weakness turn into recognition of determination and wisdom.
My mother’s sweater is in the laundry. I don’t know what condition it will be in when I see it again, or if it will be so damaged that I will never see it again. I have the memory, but not an image.
Maybe that’s the point. It has been five years of transformational awareness, filled with pressures and reality checks and the opportunity to set course in a different direction. Like butterflies, these clothing moths have gone through the egg, larva, cocoon and adult stages. The larvae need food and time. Clothes provided food; and oblivion provided time.
This time, my complete spiritual decluttering will occur through my elimination of physical objects that are no longer useful to wear for whatever reason. If the kimono or clothes I struggled to make in college don’t come back, I’ll cherish the memories I made with them. My mother’s wigs, which could have been a delicious dessert according to some experts who note how much moths love human hair, could be gone forever.
I lock away my beloved yarn, the 45 or 50 skeins, stored in anticipation of the long winter craft season where I can offer others the blessings of my time and somewhat uneven skill with crochet or crochet. knitting needles for holiday gifts. Before using it, I will have to wash it on the sanitary setting, dry it, and then work with it. I don’t want to pass on moth eggs that are too small to be seen by others.
The cleanup resulting from the search for remnants of the webbing clothes moth means that some papers, old keepsakes and “just in case” items go for recycling or the trash. Each passage makes my house lighter.
It may be a gift of renewal, born of grief and the voracious offspring of the garment moth. To go through one’s house is to find the hidden traces of a lived life. Because of how easily the moth can ravage clothes, especially anything made of wool, I research and make decisions quickly at a fast pace.
The moth made me see how much I had to appreciate in my life. This understanding could not flood my consciousness until I fought for it by cleaning and researching the ravages of cloth clothes moth.
August is a traditional month in many countries, including the United States of America, to experience family vacations, relax and enjoy the remaining abundance of summer sun and light schedules. .
The gods have a great sense of humor and timing. If my mom were around, she’d notice the irony that in a hot summer it would take a little moth to focus on what really matters: home. It is in cleansing that we appreciate what we have and who we are.