Altered book art journal study from a live luna moth. Mixed media. Hali Karla

A few weeks ago, I found a luna moth sitting on the gravel by my car door. I shared about it on Instagram… pretty much, I initially thought she was dead. There was no movement or response from her.

Luna moths are stunning nocturnal moths that only live for 7 days – eating nothing after coming out of the cocoon with their wings. They are large and not uncommon – and will likely cause you to pause whenever you get the gift to see one.

I decided to bring her winged body home to the studio to sketch, so I carefully placed her on my lap while I drove home. Just as I pulled into the drive and turned the car off, she fluttered her wings – startling me a bit – and flew to the floor of the car. Not dead after all.

So I watched her – and carefully picked her up on a piece of paper – and thought that perhaps she was simply in her final hours because she didn’t seem to have much energy or movement left, and made no attempts to move from the paper or fly away.

After making dinner that night, I sat out on the porch and sketched her with some watercolors and pencils. While watching her this time, I noticed very soft white material on her underbelly. Over the hour or so that I sat there with her, it seemed that her movements started to pick up, but I wasn’t sure.

So late that night before bed, I moved the paper she was on to a spot safe from the evening breezes – and this time noticed that she was even more active than before, cleaning the soft, white material from her body, and gently moving her wings.

It occurred to me that her life wasn’t ending at all when I found her on the side of the busy road, motionless – but rather fallen from a tree, perhaps, and coming out of her cocoon for the beginning of the prime of her life.

The next morning, she was gone.

Transformations are not always what they seem initially, but with time it becomes clearer.

 

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