It’s been a strange summer, after that so mild winter. Sultry, and then some. Illusions? Maybe. Coincidences… yes. This is no forested patch, although I might dream it to be so. The luna moth does not live here. I thought. Earlier this spring,
I showed a few friends a glimpse of my metal winged beast when it was almost complete. The sightings started. But not here… these were wooded spots, off the beaten path. How odd, I thought, it’s been years since anyone has even mentioned a luna. Could I be so fortunate to spot one myself? Never. Not here. Late spring evolved into this sultry summer and the opportunity passed. No luna moth for me this year, only my jeweled facsimile.
Late yesterday afternoon… overcast, cool, just a hint of what’s soon to come as the heart of summer begins to fade. I hear a commotion out under my window. My little garden pal is on the driveway… “Ewww, it’s huge!” and then “I don’t see her!” I peek out my window… “what did you find?” I call. “It’s gross! Look!” I can see it all the way from my perch inside the house, she holds a clear plastic vegetable box –
a bright green caterpillar way bigger than my thumb, maybe almost twice the size – larger than any I’ve ever seen and motoring all over the inside of that box.
I step outside to join my neighbors on the drive. “That’s going to be something big”
I speculate, “something cool.” I dare not say it, it can’t be! My friend’s Dad starts searching right there on the driveway with his handy gadget. “Maybe a luna moth” he says, “they look like this…”. I had thought maybe, but it was not to be believed.
But there it was. I am astounded.
Carefully we move it to the backyard, and set it by the walnut tree, because I had learned from my research that they like those. Out come the cameras and we’ve captured this active little monster, while still leaving it to carry on with the important business of being next year’s hope for moths. The mosquitos chase us inside, but I sneak back out a few more times before dusk envelopes the way back of the yard. I gather up the walnut leaves I find strewn across the yard and make a light covering to hide the neon hue of this undulating treasure, should he feel the need to hide tonight. What secrets this walnut tree has been protecting.
Will this be the place where he settles in and builds the protective case that will carry him through the winter months? Maybe. But if not it won’t be far. Because they are here, these elusive ghostly creatures… whether I see them or not.
And now I know that it is the looking that counts.