What a Moth Reveals About Feeling Lost

When feeling lost, set your course for the brightest light in your life. You might not end up where you want to be, but hardly anyone does.

Cabin in a dark forest by moonlight, a bright light when feeling lost.
Set your course for the moon. Picture taken during the Nature of Wonder Winter Retreat.

The evenings are mild and I keep my door open. Attracted by the light, a little moth flies around my reading lamp. I remember reading somewhere that moths navigate by flying at a constant angle relative to a distant light source, such as the Moon. This makes me wonder how a moth gets around on a cloudy night. And whether this moth is feeling lost too.

Knowing I need to do something more productive, I discover that moths use the Earth’s magnetic field to cross vast distances in Australian deserts. Aside from the plain brown moth, the only other insect that can accomplish such a feat is the monarch butterfly. Unlike moths, who prefer the Moon, the stars and the Milky Way, monarch butterflies use the rising and setting Sun to navigate. I also learn that the flying patterns of this little moth helps drones navigate unfamiliar environments, so we’ll likely see moth-inspired drones soon. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

We Are All Navigating in the Dark

I look at this little creature, who confused my lamp for the Moon. I feel in awe of how little I understand about the way nature works. How we all work, in fact. The next day, I read an article in the papers about moths. The writer suggests that a moth is simply drawn to the light, just like everyone else who is lost. In all of its complexity, nature’s tendencies are remarkably similar for all of us. When you are feeling lost, set your course for the brightest light in your life. You might not end up where you want to be, but hardly anyone ever does. We are all navigating in the dark. A good thing to remember the next time you find a trapped moth in your window sill.

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