Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Moths, Butterflies, and Angels

I've always had a great affinity for moths. The other night as I cupped a little one in my hands and carried him from the kitchen to the great outdoors, I paused on the back porch as I watched him flutter away and suddenly recalled the giant moths from my childhood in Colorado. I'd never seen one anywhere else, those with a wingspan of 6 or 7 inches, and wished I could again. In practicing my new found technique of expressing gratitude in advance for something I'd love to experience, I thanked the Universe for sending me a giant moth. I didn't care the species. Just make it a big one. I smiled as I gazed at the stars and went back inside. The next morning as I stepped out onto the front porch to water my flowers, I froze. My moth was there, clinging to the brick wall, with wings so tattered it was like she flew here all night from the outer regions of the world. She was gigantic. Wingspan 6 inches at least. Legs like a tarantula, and these otherworldly antennae which looked more like fern fronds. Open your hand and spread all your fingers as wide as they'll expand, and you'll feel her size. She was magnificent. But she was dying. Many adult moths live no longer than one week and I felt like she chose to exit this world on my porch because she knew she'd be surrounded by love here. She heard my Universal invitation. As I stared at her beauty, she fluttered down to the porch floor and leaned her head against the boards. I put a jar lid full of water and some baby greens down by her. Maybe foolish, but damned if I can ever get my Martha Stewart hosting switch to turn off. She was in a corner, protected by my Buddha dog statue and the brick wall. It would be a perfect place for her to fade away. I closed my eyes and surrounded her with the energy of love and prayed that she'd be okay, no matter her cycle of life. When I opened my eyes, she was gone. Poof. I searched all the perimeter and couldn't find her. Where could she have gone, so quickly, with those torn up wings. There was no wind to speak of. I had no answers, but I felt good for her. And I felt good for having experienced her.

So the next day my husband and I went for one of our normal hikes and I dedicated it to my moth. I vowed to take as many images of butterflies and moths as I could throughout our hike. Not an easy task for me. I don't have a macro lens, nor the technical skill to get the really little ones. And let's not even talk about the patience required to shoot a bunch of flickering butterflies. Let's just say the woodland innocents heard a lifetime of swearing that day... I did the best I could. This, I believe, is a Gulf Fritillary butterfly.

And this, of course, is the regal Two-tailed Swallowtail with a 5 inch wingspan.

I believe this little guy is a Red Admiral, but I'm not sure.

This is a tiny moth. No clue which species. But this image, with him gently resting on the edge of a leaf, is one of my favorites. Right now, with so many millions of wild flowers blooming, the butterflies and moths are as thick as Minnesota Mosquitoes.

I have no clue what this one is. Have you ever tried to identify butterflies through an internet reference site? You have to be an entomologist to even know where to begin. It's impossible.


This is a Checkered White which is one of my favorites, but the most difficult to photograph. They just never sit still for even a moment and their wingspan is only up to 1.75 inches. Small and fast. Not my photography forte.

These ones are also beautiful with an indigo body. Again, the white ones weren't loving me that day.

The magical part of this project was just sitting silently still and looking around to see where one might be resting. You just never know what's there until you really take the time to feel your surroundings.

This guy had a greenish hue in the sunlight. One of my favorites.

Excellent resting place. You can hardly see him. I only found him because I decided to rest here myself, lizard-like, absorbing the New Mexico sun.

These are amazingly cool because their markings look like a cat face to me. Can you see it?

The tiny, Spring Azure with a wingspan of up to 1.25 inches. Iridescent blue.

Some little moth guy. Also one of my favorite pics.

And this is a kingly Black Swallowtail. I was waiting for him to land and he touched down right in front of my face and just stared at me, like, "Take the picture because I'm clearly magnificent." I love this shot of his little face!

I loved these ones too. Green and orange. But teeny tiny, so difficult to shoot.

As we reached the top of the mesa, an arduous hike to say the least, this form in the break in the clouds met us there. I stared at it in reverence, thinking at first it was a butterfly. Then getting a clear image of my gigantic fading moth, I felt assuredly it was an angel and from it, I felt a smile and a Universal thank you. I had to sit down for a moment and take the time to thank it back.


Teresa Evangeline said...

Goosebumps and tears. Can't articulate what a gift this is. A clear definition of what is right and good. The moth arriving on your doorstep and The image in the cloud... And, all those little beauties that you photographed and shared. I am so grateful for you and your invaluable contribution, your gift to the world.

Falen said...

i love moths too! I always try to get them back outside if they sneak in.

Occasionally i'll see a giant moth up north (luna? Lunar moths? i can't remember off the top of my head) They are awesome

Christine said...

Wow! Just incredible. This made me happy. :)

turquoisemoon said...

Your pics are beautiful. The cloud, what can I say??? amazing...
You were given such a gift and thank you for sharing.

Stark Raving Zen said...

Teresa, thank you. I know you know what I feel with every gift received because you too are highly aware of the gifts given to you. It's a beautiful thing.

and Falen, Luna moths are the royalty of all winged creatures I think. They are generally iridescent green and practically glow in the dark when you see them. Magnificent.

Christine, I am SO glad this made you happy. It made me happy too. :)

and Lynn, you're welcome. I love it that we're all sharing this wonderful experience called Life. I too get so much from your stories.

copithorne said...

I'm sure you remember Carlos Casteneda reported Don Juan counseled him on the auspiciousness of being visited by a Moth of Knowledge.

Stark Raving Zen said...

Copithorne, a friend just sent me a link to the cover of Castaneda's Tales of Power, with this very moth illustrated. I've been having some real breakthroughs recently with my Shamanic studies and I had no idea the connection. Seeing that cover brought a tear to my eye. Life is beyond beautiful.

Stark Raving Zen said...

...and it really REALLY makes me want to read Carlos Castaneda. I've been resistant. I think I'm ready now.

Farmer Dan said...

Amazing pictures! I liked the cat one best. It's tough to take pictures of insects since they move so much. I've been trying to get up close ones of bees and not having much luck.

Stark Raving Zen said...

Thanks Dan! I'm glad you like them. Photographing insects definitely takes patience. I love the big bumble bees. They hover so slowly you can usually get some nice ones. I'm talking about the huge cute ones like little furry golf balls. :)

Thyra said...

Hello! Lovely pictures of butterflies and moths. The little butterfly you don't know looks like a species of the Small Tortoiseshell which I know from Denmark. Its Latin name is Aglais urticae. I really don't know if your butterfly is of the same family, but it also looks very alike when it is sitting wings up like in your photo.

Please try to see these examples on below link in my "butterfly"- blog "Sommerfugle i Danmark" (the other butterfly in the pictures from the church yard is Peacock (Inachis io):



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celestial elf said...

Great Post :D
thought you might like my machinima film the butterfly's tale~
Bright Blessings
elf ~

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