The Gecko and the Moth


In about two hours, right when there is absolutely no natural light, a gecko shape will appear on the outside of my plate glass window. Its soft white underbody and pod-like feet splay against the glass like a statuette. I can see the reptilean skin, white and armored yet seemingly soft.

At the same time, a coven of grey-brown moths will flutter in small arcs, attracted to the brightness of my desk lamp. They are clumsy fliers and look awkward as they bump against the glass, flutter out a few inches and then return. They must be one of the most vulnerable creatures around: no sonar, limited sight, no apparent navigation system and no genetic memory of danger.

This happens every night. The gecko will wind its head in the direction of one of these chalky moths and in an instant, snare it between its perfectly symmetrical jaws. Almost always, some part of the moth body protrudes – the still living portion. The gecko slowly consumes its meal until no particle remains. One time, it fell off the window, weighted down with its meal. Then the scenario begins again.

This happens every night that I sit at my desk with the lamp on. I consider my role as some kind of symbiotic agent in keeping the gecko fed and reducing the moth population.  This is what it is like to be a tree.

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