Friday, June 3, 2011

New Beginnings tale #2

Last month I had to go to Vermont to do a bit of volunteer teaching at the Craft School where I first learned about art when I was a wee lassie. It was a great class and a wonderful experience for me to come "full circle" so to speak... and it certainly set a tone for the next adventure.

After, I headed to the place where I grew up. There is a stretch of land along the lake that is protected by a 4ft sea wall. Usually the beach slopes down an additional few feet to the water. I wanted to collect some of the special rounded slate stones that I knew I'd find there. It was about to rain but I decided to go anyways. What a shock to get there and see this due to all the flooding! Normally, there is no water on the left side of the road. Now the seawall was completely covered over with about a foot of water. The water was over 2 foot deep over the road which was now impassable so I parked here to get out and look for driftwood and stones, even though it was raining.

While I was collecting driftwood. I found a cool roundish thing that looked like it was made out of wood or leaves glued together. It was rather hard but I could push in the shell if I tried. . It was about an inch and a half long. I had never seen anything like this before and when I picked it up there was some sort of seed inside that rattled. I was very curious about this so I took it home thinking I would research it further wondering what sort of seedpod it might be.

I put it on the windowsill to let it dry out and so I could admire it while I washed the dishes.

And life carried on and I got busy with all that had to be done around here. I did not get around to ID-ing the seedpod, in fact, I did not lift it up or touch it again.

A month went by. A few days ago I came up from the garden, tired, very dirty and needing to make some dinner. I was about to reach for the cutting board, which happened to also be on the edge of the kitchen sink when out of the corner of my eye I saw that something BIG was on the edge of the cutting board....

What I had thought was a seed pod had in fact been a chrysalis for a kind of giant silk moth we have here called a Polyphemus moth. I knew immediately it was a female because her abdomen was so huge. Also her antennae are small compared to the males who have huge, fern like antennae to find the girls!

I was thrilled to see what this "seed pod" really was and was astonished to think of her floating in that debris field of driftwood. I doubt she would have survived the pounding in amongst all the big pieces of wood as they were battered by the waves when the winds got up on the lake. I felt so honoured to have her in my home.... and felt a lot of responsibility.

These creatures have no digestive systems and only live for a few days maybe a week. Their sole purpose is to breed and lay eggs, which is why her abdomen is so big... she's FULL of eggs and not much else. She was so heavy and, it was cold out here... so she was slow. Too slow to fly. and it was raining so I couldn't take her outside. I put her in a safe place and waited till morning.
Next day it was still too cold to release her. But a warm front was coming and I knew the next night might be warm enough. I was a little worried because when I tried to test fly her, she failed miserably. I hoped it was just the cold. But it was VERY stormy that night so I could not release her anyways.

The following day the front did come in and it was steaming warm and humid so I knew this was the night if she was ever going to make it on her own.After the rain storm (yet another one!!) I checked on her and she had laid a bunch of eggs on the driftwood I had put in her terrarium. I knew they would not be viable but I was so touched by the urge to procreate that drove her now. I brought all the cats in (they were not happy about this) and got my camera out for one last pose:

She kindly obliged and we went out in the very warm and fragrant twilight. I just held her up to see what would happen and awaaaayyyyyyy she sailed headed for the trees !! I was so thrilled and happy for her. Now maybe she'll be found by a male and some of those eggs will get to continue the cycle.

What doesn't show well in the photo above is that the "spots" that are encircled by the yellow rings, they are actually windows of clear wing material... quite amazing. I had hoped to get a few more shots of her, but she allowed me only the one... after all, she had work to do and had enough of hanging around with me!!

What a treat this whole adventure was for us both!

Happy Transformations of all kinds to you!!


Bonnie K said...

What a lovely blessing your received! And in turn, you were a blessing to her! A lovely story, Sally.

Greenconsciousness said...

I loved this post. What a wonderful adventure.

Welcome to the enchanted world of Environmental art and Faerie Houses sculptures created by Sally J Smith. Here you will find photos of the artist's unique art-forms and hear some of the stories from behind the scenes as she shares with you her creative process.