Cabbage Moths

This post was originally drafted a month or so ago.

At that time Melbourne was coming out of a very long COVID lockdown (our sixth). The formal restrictions set by the government were being eased, but many of us continued to live mostly-isolated for fear of catching the virus and passing it on to older or unwell relatives. Kids were going back to school, but because of the risk of catching COVID on public transport, we were dropping our kids at school each morning in the car, and picking them up each afternoon.

My daughter’s school is a castle of concrete and brick on top of a steep hillside in Footscray. It overlooks the flood plain of the Maribynong river. The “hill” is actually the old Footscray tip; who knows what archeology, and what toxic slime, is buried under its clean modern buildings and the neatly mowed turf of its playing fields?

Beside the school, Farnsworth Avenue winds down the slope of the hill to the brown curve of the Maribynong, and lining the side of the avenue are the inevitable purple and green agapanthus.

On this particular morning I’d just dropped my daughter at school, and the car was starting to gather speed down Farnsworth Avenue toward the river and the bridge, when I noticed a couple of cabbage moths fluttering across the road, only a metre or two above my windscreen. Cabbage moths, usually in pairs, are a common sight at this time of year in backyards and vegetable gardens all over Melbourne. They remind me of my childhood, and long hot afternoons, and having nothing much to do. A lepidopterist would probably inform you that cabbage moths are not actually moths at all, but plain white butterflies with black spots on their wings, but I’m not inclined to be too be so scientifically minded. Fixate on the fact that cabbage moths aren’t really moths and the next thing you know someone will be trying to convince you that Pluto is not a planet.

     Two cabbage moths
twirl above
the double white lines. 🌵

Fast forward, and here we are in the first days of 2022: test cricket is on TV; the number of case of the Omicron variant are growing exponentially; social events are being cancelled; and the government is starting to reimpose restrictions.

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