Thursday, June 10, 2021

Life between the Lakes, Part 52



A day after seeing the hummingbird moth I wrote about earlier in the week, this lovely creature showed up as one of nature's surprises. She is a Luna moth. I use the pronoun “she” because these creatures are so beautiful and have a fascinating story. In the arrangement of nature, they are not particularly rare but to actually see one is quite uncommon. The reason for this is because a Luna moth live less than a week.

They grow from larvae as a caterpillar and eat foliage but when they become moths they do not eat, which accounts for their short lifespan. Basically they breed at night, lay their eggs and then die; thus posing the unanswerable question, which is this: Is their purpose to reproduce or to be admired for their rarity? Or is it to exist in covert obscurity?

Along with the hummingbird moths from last week, the woods have been alive with dragonflies and butterflies. I’ve seen painted ladies and western tiger swallowtails (no pussycat swallowtails, as they are tropical and still being chased by Lord Beasley) Anyone?  🙂

There are approximately 17,500 species of butterflies in the world but only less than a thousand of those are found in the United States and only about 50 in Michigan. I have become re-fascinated with them this spring. As with the dragon flies, the butterflies are not shy about catching a ride on my shoulder without asking as I walk the dogs.

We’ve had an early summer in Deer Park. But don’t be fooled, it can get hot up here too. Today it was 87 but the strong south wind coming across the lake has kept us comfortable. What we do need, however is rain. We’ve had no more than a five minute shower all spring, so the road is getting dusty. On the other hand, with a dry, early spring the mosquitos haven’t made their unwelcome presence known. I’m fine with that and I presume my family will be fine with it as well when they arrive in 27 days. . .but is anyone reading these posts and counting besides me?

With so many birds and animals in the forest that I see, I wonder where it is they go to die? The short life of a Luna moth just adds to this mystery.

God gives us free tickets for our earthly carnival ride and we are only here for a moment to enjoy it. Earth contains far more life than death and more living species than we will never know or see. And, to paraphrase the great Jim Harrison, it grins at us with its huge galactic smile as God keeps the biggest surprise for last.

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