Front Porch Blog

Keeping My Eyes Opened

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When I ventured out my back door to enjoy the spring evening on May 5, I found this newly emereged moth Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) perched on my deck. Upon a short investigation I discovered that this moth is the largest moth in North America with a wing span of 5-7 inches. The caterpillar spins its cocoon in the fall and spends the winter snoozing and morphing into its final stage and finally emerges at this beautiful moth in early summer. The Cecropia Moth is not a rare or unusual species, actually it is pretty common all over the southeast, it was the first time I witnessed this amazing and beautiful creature.

After reading through the websites about this particular moth I realized that at some point last fall we had this amazing greenish-blue caterpillar, 4 inches long, living right there under my nose on my deck and I didn’t even see it once. I guess my observation skills need some fine tuning; if I don’t even notice a 4 inch caterpillar on my deck spinning its cocoon (4 feet from where I sit and enjoy my morning coffee) what else am I missing?

The emergence of this moth on my deck is an indication that a new season has arrived and with that a new season for me to be more observant in the natural world. Oftentimes we are so busy and wrapped up in the fast paced world, we forget to look and enjoy what is in our “backyards.” When I forget to “look in my backyard” I tend to lose focus on why I do what I do. So, thanks to the moth on my deck, I have vowed to be more observant in my backyard and the rest of this place, the Appalachians, which I call home. Who knows what I will see; a green heron resting on a downed tree over the creek; a woodpecker searching for bugs on the flowering pear tree; a farmer plowing up the field and preparing to plant broccoli; or a spider spinning its web in a corner of my front porch?

I urge you all to “look in your backyard” and share what you find!

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