WHAT DOES A MOTH, GREEK MYTHOLOGY, AND TACO TUESDAY HAVE IN COMMON?

No. The title of this post is not the beginning of a bad joke. A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you my adventure of retrieving some Fall witchgrass that blew into our backyard. In that post, I promised I would share another treasure from the back yard, and this is the post fulfilling that promise.

© 2019 SuZan Alexander, Moth. Digital Photography. (6’ x 6”)

THE STORY

While I was searching for the Fall witchgrass (i.e., looking down and really observing), I discovered the body of what appears to be a moth. To be more exact, it looks like an Antheraea polyphemus moth.

Between our birth and death we may touch understanding, as a moth brushes a window with its wings.
— Christopher Fry

I think the discovery is beautiful and it set me on a path of thinking about moths. Once I got past that superficial thought of those little critters perforating that cashmere sweater in the closet, I started considering why a moth is drawn to light. Surely there is a metaphor or lesson in there somewhere. All of this deeper meaning stuff really got me thinking while I was working on this image. I hope this moth inspires you to ponder it a bit too. Just to get you started, I’m sharing a quote from the British poet and playwright Christopher Fry.

AND, since I love it when art and science collide, here are a few tidbits I discovered in my research about the moth:

FIVE FACTS ABOUT THE MOTH

  1. The name of this particular moth is derived from Greek mythology due to the eye-like spots on the wings. The giant, one-eyed cyclops, Polyphemus, appears in the literary classic, Homer’s Odyssey. I was not familiar with the story of Polyphemus so I looked it up. If you are curious, like me, HERE is a link.

  2. Those spots on the wings are beautiful, right? Well, did you know the center of the “eye-spot is uniquely transparent”? (You can check me HERE )

  3. When I was working on this image, I kept zooming in to check the focus on the moth. I finally discovered that it looks “fuzzy” because these moths have a “hairy” body. Who knew?

  4. The entire life cycle of the moth is around 3 months, and, the adult moth lives a maximum of four days.

  5. During those maximum four days, the adult moth does not eat. What?! That is crazy! No “Taco Tuesday” for these guys? Not even the taco’s lettuce?!

So, now that you can sound like Cliff Clavin* at your next get-together, go out and enjoy a taco and contemplate the deeper meaning of moths.

*(If you are curious about the Cliff Clavin reference, click HERE.)