At first I thought it was just a leaf . . . .
From the shelter of my screened porch, I eyed the object as it jigged and bobbed some twenty feet away outside on the grass in the pounding rain of a summer thunderstorm. But something about its awkward, jerky movements suggested that it was not an inanimate piece of garden debris and so I reached for the binoculars to get a closer look.
It turned out to be a Luna moth. In all my time in the Highlands I had never set eyes on one and I naïvely wondered if Luna moths — or any moths for that matter — were susceptible to the power of a rainstorm. I thought about going out to help it, but — as was often the case of late — the onslaught of the rain was truly mighty and I convinced myself that such a species that had survived for perhaps millions of years would surely have a strategy for living through a heavy downpour.
A little while later, I glanced through the screens and was slightly surprised to see that I was wrong. I carefully rotated the binocular’s focus wheel and the moth lay motionless and exquisitely beautiful in the watery sunshine. The rain seemed like nothing more than a bad dream and yet — the amazing creature that was the Luna moth now lay dead in the sodden grass. For whatever reason, I found this particular death to be disturbing. Things die all the time in the natural world, just as they do in the human world, but why would this big, bold, robust-looking invertebrate succumb to what was, after all, the normal vagaries of the weather?
I suppose, like so many other events in this universe, it is all a matter of perspective. As soon as I try to imagine myself three or four inches long with wide, delicate wing structures projecting from the side of my boneless body as a raging tsunami pounds down upon my vulnerable head and body, the Luna moth’s untimely demise suddenly begins to make a lot of sense.