Okay, I'll admit it. I am two days behind on my summer count. I shall spend a few hours, writing three, catching up.
I am pretty sure I saw a caterpillar for the luna moth and saved it from being run over by golf carts. I was walking down a hill, and on the blacktop, I saw an orange and green larvae curled up as a letter u. A group of boys had just left their cabins, boys from thirteen to eighteen, and they were singing a marching song at the top of their lungs and marching into central camp to eat lunch. These boys could out sing marching Marines, and Marines on the march have few competitors in the oohrah department. I found myself staring at each young man as he passed. I had arrived on this scene to see the last day of marching band camp at Little Pine Island Salvation Army Camp. I held it up and inspected it, turning it before my eyes. The colors suggested it had been trying to hang from its cremester and spin a chrysalis. I placed the larvae in the short grass. Better, I should have placed it upon a short bush and given the larvae another chance to catch hold and weave.
I had arrived early, and I decided to skip the lunch, the only meal where parents are invited. Band camp for my daughter is an intense experience, seven days of learning music, marching routines, formations and team work. One team work exercise she won beyond a doubt by dressing up as Effie Trinket from the Hunger Games. She marched around the field, executing a complex marching routine, playing everything from the Final Countdown to Yesterday from the Beatles. Corny as it sounds, I had gone to check in personally on my larvae. Was band camp a week spent in the chrysalis? The Luna Moth with its lime green wings is the Imago stage of the species, which means sexually capable adult. Perhaps I was visiting my Imago daughter? The children of this generation amaze me, with their too early arrival into puberty thanks to soybeans, I hear, and their incredible accomplishments in literature, math and music.
I was feeling mildly depressed as I walked down that hill, and I must have been looking at the ground. I had just cycled up the five hundred and twenty-five foot climb along Little Pine Island Drive, starting at the Grand River and the Meijer White Pine Trail. I made it up that hill in first gear, and I was feeling proud a half-mile onward. I hit the left pedal for my down stroke and I heard a loud snap. My rear wheel began wobbling severely, and the wheel hit the brakes twice on every turn. Luckily, I was able to limp into the Salvation Army camp, then only a half mile away.
I was sleepy, and I walked over to the beach on Little Pine Island Lake, and I could see the Little Pine Island, grown thick with hardwoods. A woman was sitting at a table, and the table had a scale used for weighing cold cuts in a deli. She had accepted the job of judge for the fishing derby, and nobody had weighed in yet. It was noon, and all kinds of people were fishing upon the lake and no fish had been caught. Four young men, all bare chested, all college students home for the summer, called out their result: no fish. She had dressed for the day in a string bikini, and she was talking with her son, around five years old, who was making sand castles. I thought she was serving as the lifeguard, so I asked permission to sit on the beach. No such permission was necessary, she said. We engaged in a fascinating discussion about the time when women and men from Sparta vacationed in Sparta on the shores of Little Pine Island Lake. A few restaurants in Sparta have pictures in black and white of men in suits and women in full dresses, skirt hems reaching down to their ankles. She reported to me of the expedition of men who rowed out to the island to find a pine tree and found none. As far as she knew, the only pine trees around the island stood a short walk away, five cedars near the parade field. She laughed at my joke, "So Little Pine Island Lake has very little pine trees growing around it". She and her son laughed, and then the pair tried to catch fish in their net, sitting together on the floating diving deck.
To save my daughter any embarrassment, I talked to one of the camp rangers, and he happily offered to stow my bike in a pole barn. "And don't be in any rush to come back for it!" He must have been an officer in the Salvation Army, as I have noticed fellow officers with that level of cultivation. Remind me to hit that red pail hard this year. I was riding beside my daughter in her mother's Ford Escape when we began to drive down that 500 foot hill, a hill with at least a two percent grade. On I-75 driving down to Georgia, roads with that steep a decline have runaway truck lanes. She looked in shock and I told her I had pedaled up that hill on my way to see her. Her mother dropped me off at the Bigby Coffee. I would have rather been dropped off two miles up the road, where I could have climbed a forested hill up to the mall on Alpine. However, I didn't want my daughter to see her father disappear into a bush. That might have made her contemplate the animal nature of her father too much.
I guess it is time to look for the chrysalis of the Luna Moths
Margaret Willey, A Summer of Silk Moths
Megan McCarty works in the field documenting butterflies and moths. Last year, this homeschooler worked on a cataloging team at age 15!
Actias luna female taken by Shawn Hanrahan and reared on American Sweetgum.
Shawn Hanrahan raises Luna Moths on American Sweetgum. The Wikipedia Editors have deleted many of her articles, writing to peer-review standards, and she has quit using the Wikipedia for now. Horrors!
Actias luna 4th instar larva taken by Shawn Hanrahan. Reared on American Sweetgum
Actias luna 5th instar larvae spinning a cocoon. Reared and photographed by Shawn Hanrahan.