“Get up,” my husband said, shaking me awake as the early morning sun filtered through the window.
I’m sure I gave him a look that communicated a combination of confusion, grumpiness and reluctance, because right away, he explained, “There’s a big, green moth on the porch. I knew you’d want to see it.”
I rolled out of bed and snatched up my camera from the nearby desk, as well as a macro lens, and followed him downstairs.
My husband knows me well. Once in a deep sleep, there’s not much that can convince me to rise from my bed. I absolutely love sleeping. But I rarely pass up a chance to see wildlife, and there have been several instances in which I’ve risen early to photograph a critter that Derek or our dog, Oreo, has spotted outside our house. Once, I ran out in the morning rain in my pajamas to photograph a deer; and several times, I’ve risen during witching hour to film one of our resident flying squirrels clinging to a window screen.
The big green moth, clinging to the cedar shingles of our house, was a luna moth. It had been attracted to the house by our porch light, as had several smaller, less flashy moths that were resting on the wall around it. In the morning, they seemed to all be in some sort of stupor.
It had been years since I’d seen a luna moth. In fact, I think the last time I saw a luna moth was when I was in fifth grade attending conservation camp on Bryant Pond in western Maine. During my stay at camp, I kayaked, fished, swam, learned how to cast a fly rod, shot a bow and passed the state hunter safety test. And one morning, as I walked from the bunkhouse to the cafeteria for breakfast, I came across a luna moth resting on forest floor. I was mesmerized. It was the biggest moth I’d ever seen, and its wings resembled the bright green leaves of early spring.
Fast forward more than 15 years, I stood on my porch and slowly nudged the luna moth onto my pointer finger, where it clung with its six, furry maroon legs. I then sat down and held it close to my face and studied its fernlike antennae and plump, white body. I can’t be the only one who finds moths to be extremely cute.
I took a few photos, then tried to place it on the branch of a nearby tree, where I imagined it would blend it. It released the branch and fluttered to the ground, where it clung to a cluster of grass blades. I watched as the moth vibrated in a pre-flight warm up, then, all of the sudden, it took off and flew across the lawn and into the forest.