My wife and I went camping over the weekend. Camping at Labor Day is an annual tradition of ours, dating all the way back to back when we began dating. Every year we fill the Subaru with enough food and gear to comfortably occupy a minor principality, and we drive—more or less exclusively in second gear—up to the mountains.
We always look forward to this little weekend getaway. For one thing, it falls at the beginning of the school year, and as you may know, teachers and students are best introduced to one another by exercising a level of caution one might normally reserve for a pair of epileptic house cats. So having a holiday straight away is A Good Idea for all involved.
But we also go because it’s just so much nicer up there than down here this time of year. While Fort Collins bakes in the heat of a pertinacious summer, the 10,000 foot contour on the topo map is pretty damn comfy. Cold, even. Certainly chilly enough to justify an evening campfire. Though, to be fair, finding oneself in possession of firewood is also sufficient justification for an evening campfire.
This trip was particularly memorable in that we were accompanied throughout our stay by a small yet demanding family of moths.
I hate moths. Can’t stand ’em. I’m sure scientists would say that moths serve a purpose, but to me, they’re just little airborne fits of anxiety (the moths, I mean). And all the data I’ve gathered suggest that if moths do have purpose, it consists wholly and entirely of driving me mad.
A couple of the little buggers flew into the tent one night at bedtime, resulting in the author’s flailing about with a magazine for a duration far longer than he would readily admit. I’m sure it would have proven entertaining to outside observers, but as our geographic region of interest is largely inhabited by moose, we can only speculate.
I was, however, vindicated the following evening when I fired up the Coleman lantern (And I do mean fired up in the most literal sense possible, as lighting a Coleman lantern involves mating a burning match to a small jet of refined petroleum. The resulting fireball never fails to delight and alarm me.). Immediately after having lit the lantern, no fewer than three unlucky lepidopters charged directly toward the little lighthouse and were instantly disarmed. Or dis-winged (unhinged?), as it were.
And it was in that very moment that I realized why moths are attracted to light.
It is because they are so very dim.