photo by Sheri Dixon

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Real Life Magic

The first spring I lived in the old house, the kitchen window was graced with a luna moth- silently grasping the window screen- lovely, delicate and magical.

The following spring, and many after saw a solitary luna moth on the same screen window, and I took it as a good omen, and had a luna moth tattooed on the back of my shoulder so she'd always be with me.

One year I thought "Surely it's not the same moth?" and I looked up the life cycle of luna moths.

Well, it wasn't the same moth. Luna moths go through an astonishingly short life- egg for a few weeks, then FIVE stages of caterpillar- each one molting as it outgrows its skin- then the cocoon phase, and finally the moth emerges.

The moth emerges for one reason only- to mate and lay eggs. Then it dies. In less than a week. So rigid is this time frame that luna moths do not have mouths. They can't eat. Planned obsolescence.

Which makes their beauty sadder, yet more special.

Fast forward to our new house, this being the first spring here.

Imagine my happiness at seeing a luna moth perched on the screen about a week ago. A good omen, for sure.

Then, the next day there was another one.

The following night there were four dancing in the porch light (the very tenuous nature of their existence obvious even then as seen by the one on the bottom).

The morning after that, there were THIRTEEN moths on that porch- one a mating pair.

I reviewed the information I had on the moths and found that one of their favorite foods is all up and down the creek right outside our door- the huge majestic sweetgum trees.

And we were overjoyed at our luck and our blessing of the moths- they were EVERYWHERE- on top of the baby chick tub...

...attached to the feed sacks...

...snugged into the door jamb...

But a week goes by awful quickly, and last night there were four.

This morning there were none.

Tonight there is one tattered and weakly clinging to the screen next to my computer- still lovely, delicate and magical.

But on the side of the big tub on the porch are a spattering of black dots- eggs.

And in a few weeks we'll be watching for the tiny caterpillars to emerge and start the cycle over again- a cycle that can repeat three times a season in our area of the country.

Till then, I'll carry them with me in my heart...and here.


  1. I have never seen one. They are exquisite...

    Is lundamom a red-head?? Jj is!

  2. ha. more brown than red- gotta be the right light to see anything but brown and gray LOL