Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Curious Guest, Revealed

It was pure serendipity that I found this creature tucked into the roses Saturday morning. It looked at first like a dry curled leaf, and I'm not sure why I moved in for a closer view. Picking dead leaves wasn't on my agenda; I was picking dahlias. I like to think that God was nudging me so I could enjoy His strange surprise. Last night I queried Google images and learned that my beautiful guest is a sphinx moth that goes by the name Eumorpha achemon.


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!



15 comments:

Dominic Rivron said...

What an incredible moth! It reminded me of the Space Shuttle for some reason.

Brian Miller said...

wow. he is so cool chris...love the markings...

Beth Niquette said...

Oh, my goodness--this is such an incredible insect. I've never seen anything like it, either!

Thank you for sharing this magnificent creature with us!

Jessica Maybury said...

If I saw that in my house I would panic so badly and scream my head off.

There was a spider on the ceiling over the shower this morning and I had to abort my mission and run away.

Brian Miller said...

haha missed the verse earlier...too funny...full moon tonight....

Marion said...

He really does look like a dead leaf. Incredible photos! xx

Peter Goulding said...

From one small creature to another. I share TFE's mistrust of haiku but this is very clever. Love it!

Heaven said...

Beautiful picture of the moth.. and thank you for sharing that backgrounder on two brothers..

Like your short poem...almost like a haiku.

Syd said...

Beautiful. I do so love moths.

Magpie said...

Love the mythology! Glad you found your miracle today.

The Cello Strings said...

wow, love it.

your poem is short and funny,

the photo shots are elegant to look at.

The Bug said...

That is really a very cool creature! And I love the train of thought that brought you to Hercules' butt. That kind of humor is right down my alley :)

Steve E said...

A camouflaged jet fighter, beautiful!

I'm reading this AFTER commenting on Sept 6 post...and so it begs mention:

This line, indeed appropriate, "You never know what might cross your path today."

Thanks for the informative discussion about your discovery...

PEACE!

Ed Pilolla said...

a divine crackup is right. nice one.
that's one of the coolest looking insects i have ever seen.

haikulovesongs said...

i marvel at the camouflage which nature provides and i had NO idea that any insect could fly that fast! a beautiful surprise to find ~ thank you for sharing it with us.

both your haiku and the myth made me smile. thanks for that, too.

dani ♥

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