At the risk of turning this blog post into a nature lecture, let me tell you all about this little caterpillar we found last Fall. Brian and the kiddos found him crawling around the wood pile. He was a bright spring green with little red knobs. Brian thought he was a Cecropia caterpillar, perhaps, but we didn't look into it much. We brought him inside, stuck some leaves and stick, and poked holes in the lid. I then gave Mr. Caterpillar the side eye all day, thinking I should just let him back out. But overnight he decided to spin a silky threaded cocoon, and so I let him be. We stuck his homey jar atop our fridge and I forgot all about him. And then in March, I took him down, and doubtful that he was still going to make it, I took the lid off the jar and put him out on the deck. We would drain the rainwater occasionally, and his cocoon home got some snow once in a while as our winter dragged on into April. And I just doubted his survival for some reason. But nature knows what she was doing, even with all our clumsy interventions.
Last week my father-in-law noticed the moth squeezing out of the cocoon, and he helped him out of his home for us all to see. We marveled and watched as his wings s l o w l y unfurled and dried in the breeze. We confirmed that he was a male Polyphemus moth, and I was pleasantly surprised at how long the kiddos watched him. And he hung out on our deck all day long, hanging out his wings to dry. And the next morning, he was gone, off to find a pretty young female Polyphemus moth.