Déjà Vu, Just Like You

Sometimes we encounter people we are sure we know, or at least have known, but we simply cannot place them in our minds. Maybe it is just a gesture reminding us of someone else we know, a lilt of the head; a pursing of the lips; or maybe the pitch of their voice on the twist of a phrase. They are so familiar, yet they are strangers. How is this so? Perhaps, it is because people are in fundamental respects not so different from one another; though the details we recognize to distinguish one another seem stark, people can be, for all our minute variations, the same song played on different days of a worldwide tour. Or maybe it’s just (literally) us, a projection of our subconscious, a signal from some inner desire or anxiety, and one person, whether by chance or in particular, provides the mirror for us to recognize it.

In the end, like a moment of déjà vu, we have no rational explanation except perhaps to say, it is a function or tic of the human brain yet to be discovered. So to understand the wonder before it overwhelms me, I turn to a more irrational story: one where a person’s spirit or light (or what have you) touches us, whether we know it or not at the time, and bounces off those ontological mirrors in this endless chamber of existence and comes back to us. Is it the miracle of light? The ravages of time? Or the trail of fate? Perhaps, it is the exhaust of chance, a particulate remnant of a series of combustions we can only claim to have survived long enough to breath in the smoky air. I don’t really know, but someone else does, this I am sure of. All light come to us, returns to us: someone out there in the past or future perfect, or even the perfect stranger right in front of us, like the boundlessness of light itself, is here and there, with us always.

And yes, seeing this caterpillar should give you that déjàvooey feeling, because you (sort of) know this special critter if you’ve been reading BugPhoto.net for a while. I am not one hundred percent certain (and how could I be in a post like this?), but I believe this is the larva of the Snowberry Clearwing moth, Hemaris diffinis. This young’un like most Sphinx moth caterpillars sports a hornlike appendage at the end of the abdomen (hence the common general term “hornworms”). The photos were a bit touch and go, because the caterpillar was mostly the latter — be it in the brush or on my finger.


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