It was the Eldest who first spotted the bright green friend crouched in a corner of the castle exterior.
“A friendly dragon,” we determined.
Moving closer to establish the requisite rapport, we realized that our friendly dragon was actually a luna moth recently emerged from its pupa and testing its wings in real-time. Luna moths only live for a brief period of time, during which they must first spend a day allowing their fragile, splendid wings to dry.
Things began to happen very quickly- with the same intensity of being in labor, tiny movements leading to fantastic physical changes.
I called Prophet, Gnome, and Little B. to join us.
We watched the moth’s fragile wings tremble with each gust of fragrant spring wind.
We studied the perfect symmetry of the lines on its back. Then discussed the shapes we could find in its thorax and abdomen.
Suddenly, the luna moth shuddered and curled into itself. When it curled back out again, two slender appendages with golden endings emerged and remained dangling.
Gnome opens the gate carefully so as not to disturb our moth friend.
When the luna moth tumbled down from its high spot on the wall, we watched with bated breath as it climbed up the side of the wooden fence to rest at the top of the gate. Then we relocated to watch the events from the other side of the fence.
The Eldest admired the luna moth’s “featherlike” antlers, which appeared to be made of perfect, super-sensitive combs.
“I can’t believe it is so perfect…. and delicate,” he concluded, as he stood, transfixed, by the tiny details witnessed up close, the ones we never bother to seek unless forced before us by a circumstance.
And so we sat, and watched- the little ones resorting to dirt and stones when the waiting felt too laborious. We made up poems and rhymes, which quickly turned to songs and riddles.
Four hours and several bowls of pineapple later, our luna moth friend felt ready to fly. I won’t tell you which one of us cried when it finally heaved its amazing wings and fluttered away. The whole watching and waiting was intensely beautiful and awe-inspiring. I learned more about from this brief learning experience than I have learned from any textbook or media about the sublime life of the luna moth. Profoundly grateful for what Barbara Kingsolver calls the “small things”.