I know how to do it now. I gently dip one fingertip into the bucket of water right under the insect that is floating there.
This morning it was a tiny grayish-brown moth. As I lifted my finger It hopped on like this was exactly what the moth expected would happen. There was no hesitation or confusion about this big finger suddenly in the water bucket and why.
Still wet, I held up a dry finger to the moth and she slowly walked from one to the other. It was a chilly morning, a thick fog making the air damp. I’m sure the moth was taking in the warmth from my finger and letting its wings dry.
It was a few minutes before she started to move, that’s when I picked up a dead leaf, brown and gray like the moth with just a touch of spotted yellow, and held it in front of her.
The moth stepped onto the leaf and disappeared in its folds. I left the leaf by the window in the barn.
There weren’t as many insects floating in the animal’s water bucket this year as there was last year. But they all behave the same when I pull them out. If it’s a sunny day, I leave them on top of the fence post by the gate to dry in the sun.
It’s not like I’m being noble, like don’t kill bugs. I do.
This time of year it seems there’s at least one fly in the bedroom buzzing around my reading light at night. They land on my book and sometimes divebomb my head. Jon’s good with the flyswatter and I have no trouble killing a fly when it’s buzzing around me in the house.
But no matter what kind of insect is in the water bucket, I reach in to rescue it.
The best part is watching those soggy insects shake themselves off, warm up and fly away. It feels like a little miracle that is easy to be a part of.
I guess what I’m saying is I do it as much for me as for them.