Monday, August 22, 2011

Hiding in Plain Sight

I attended the 50th Annual Blackwater Falls Wildflower Pilgrimage in early May, near Davis West Virginia. Atop Smith Mountain a group of participants came upon this newly emerged Luna Moth while searching for rare native plants.

Its wings drooped and its belly was swollen with fluid. Gradually the fluid was pumping into the wings to stiffen them for flight. But meanwhile, the moth was extremely vulnerable.

I marveled at the patterns, colors and textures as it grasped the end of the twigs fallen from the tree above. Suddenly my trance was interrupted by a beeping car horn. All the other participants had returned to their cars and were awaiting me!

I rushed to join them, but not before I noticed the spent blossoms and pods littering the ground. The petals were shriveled and the pods covered with a pale green furry down. Their resemblance to the moth, clinging to the twig and twisting in the spring breeze, was remarkable. How did the moth choose this spot and perfectly time its "birth" to mimic this cast off vegetation?