There are moths in the attic. Hundreds of them. No one comes up here because of them, because they hate the powder that falls from their wings when they land on them like dust.
I don’t mind them. It’s quiet, and they keep me company as I sit in an old rocker with my notebook and pencil. Everything here is calm, and it forces me to be calm too. If I move quickly or suddenly, it upsets the moths and the dust, and I end up sneezing long after I leave.
Today, I hold my notebook open to a fresh page, my pencil tip inches away from touching. The room smells like paper and moths and jasmine. I’m looking around, slowing my breathing, paying attention to what I see.
A large globe sits in its stand, waiting to be spun by curious hands. Boxes line against the wall, some filled with books and pictures and memories, some I haven’t explored yet. There’s a rocking horse in the corner, and a few of the moths are resting on it, keeping it company until it is needed again.
A small table stands off to a side with little chairs around it, ever ready to be set for a tea party. The dolls and stuffed animals that used to sit there are packed away, stored in one of the boxes to avoid the moths and dust.
Sometimes I get them out so the table doesn’t look so lonely, but then I’m always missing the little girl who serves them tea, and I end up putting them back. The little girl hasn’t been there for tea in a long time.
I have her in a notebook though.
In an old one, when my handwriting was big and clumsy and I couldn’t spell.
A luna moth lands on my armrest, fanning out it’s broad green wings that taper into curling tails. I smile as I finally lower my pencil to the paper and start to sketch it. I’ve probably already given this one a name, but I never try to remember those things, and so today I call it Pearl. It sits there for a long time, content to be drawn and in no hurry to be elsewhere. I sit there a long time too, content to draw and observe.
When I’m happy with the sketch, I start writing around it. I put down the name ‘Pearl’ and write ‘luna moth’ right next to it. After that, I just write about whatever comes to mind.
How light it gets at night during a full moon.
The way dust floats in the air.
My favorite kind of tea.
The silence around me is calm, settled, waiting. It is full of longing, memories, possibilities. It is light enough for my imagination to soar, and heavy enough for my thoughts to go deep. I doodle on the edges of my page, little flowers and stars and a string of pearls to go through them.
When the page is full and my nose gets stuffy from the dust, I shut my notebook with a sigh and slowly rise from my seat. The floorboards creak under my weight, the only other sound up here besides my heartbeat, and a few moths flutter in response. I don’t really want to leave, but I’ll be back tomorrow.
Until then, I think about the empty tea-table and the waiting globe, the luna moth and my rocker and how the dust looks floating in the air.
There is something about that place. Something sad and hopeful and enchanting.
I love how it makes me think.