The moth has a fighter jet's lines. I learned that sphinx moths are some of the fastest flying insects, and some can fly over 30 mph. The achemon has a wingspan of about 3.5 inches, about the width of my palm, and it flies at night. One website said it is rarely seen, which reinforced my sense of the serendipity of our meeting. Achemon feeds on nectar, especially petunias, which I don’t have. Maybe that's why it was gone this morning.
In Greek mythology, Achemon and his brother Basalas were a pair of mischief-making ancient spirits, who once stole the weapons of Heracles. He punished them by tying their feet to his club and slinging it over his shoulder, marching off with them hanging upside down, facing backwards. From that perspective, the brothers beheld the sight of Heracles' bare butt and burst into laughter, and when Heracles demanded to know what they were laughing at, he cracked up too and let them go.
I have no idea why the Achemon myth inspired the gentleman who named this moth in the 1700s. But the Poetry Jam requests a humorous poem this week, and the Achemon myth inspired this haiku:
Two mischief makers
spy Hercules’s godly ass:
Divine heroic crack-up.
I like to turn events like this into life lessons, so I remind myself: You never know what might cross your path today. Might be some little miracle tucked in there. Tunnel vision will blind you to it, so be observant!