Greener Than You Know

half in the light half in the shadows luna moth

A luna moth straddles the shadows and light as it rests partially on the eaves of a building.

I photographed this Luna Moth today (well really yesterday; it’s late). It’s the third Luna I’ve seen on the HQ building at Clarksburg State Park in the past week or two. It’s a beautiful thing, but this one might be especially beautiful because on Tuesday there was a brief but awful storm that passed through Clarksburg. According to the park staff, there were eyewitness accounts of a funnel cloud, the specter of which is bad enough but the actual thing quite a horror unto itself. Given the damage to the park, not to mention the trees in my own yard just down the road, I believe it. And so, I came to the park later in the day, not expecting much in the way of insects to photograph, but curious to see what damage Mother Nature had inflicted upon the park. I never did get around to that; the rain came and I had already spent nearly an hour trying to get “a better shot” of this moth, especially of its underbelly, it having revealed its white, purple-dashed abdomen. Trying without much luck. But so, the rain continued to fall, and the care of my photographic equipment finally won out. I left disappointed, as if I had missed out, but I am comforted now as much as I was delighted to see the moth at first. I picked it up immediately on the corner of the building as I rode my bike into the main driveway, but as I moved farther along, behind some trees, I lost sight of it, giving way to a different part of the building, where leaves torn from their branches sat green and whole and lifeless pasted to the building. I doubted my initial vision for a moment. When I parked my bike and looked up, there it was again half-in the light of day, half-under the darkness of the overhanging roof: after the storm, a well-worn Luna Moth, living on for at least one more day, quite possibly the most beautiful sight in the world.

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