Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Spicebush Swallowtail

Nature's Beauty, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
This past weekend, my dad and I drove down to Elkins, WV to experience the beginning of the forest festival, and also to get away to our recently acquired family cabin.

Saturday afternoon, we were walking along the highway coming back from Bowden Fish Hatchery, when I saw this little fella on a stick on the side of the road. As you can see, he doesn't exactly blend in with the greenery (but I bet he would be difficult to see once leaves start falling down).

He's a Spicebush Swallowtail larvae, and i just think the color and detail of this creature is amazing. The dot on it's head looks like a huge eye, but it is just part of a very unique design, and this remarkable creature was just crawling along the road waiting for someone to view and appreciate.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by the author Annie Dillard, in her pulitzer prize winning narrative, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
Here is the quote . . .

"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But—and this is the point—who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won’t stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get."

Often I find myself looking for the next "great thing." There is a strong temptation to see faraway and exotic places, and to "experience the world." Now don't get me wrong, it's fun to travel and to make discoveries as one travels. But there is also something to be said for appreciating the simple treasures that are along the side of the road. Or in your back yard. Or in the park just a few blocks from your house.

Treasures like this also make me think about our superficial nature; we tend to skim through life and zoom from event to event. But, do we take time to fully appreciate and savor our days? The Bible tells us to "make the most of our time because the days are evil." At one time I thought it was talking entirely about being efficient, but now I also think it is reminding us to savor every moment. So take time today. Go for a walk. Look around you. And if you feel like it, leave a comment on here and tell me what you saw.


mountaineerfran said...

what a cool little creature!!! he's amazing!

BigMama said...

While I was hanging our laundry up this afternoon, I saw a nice, juicy earthworm on the ground. I would have expected it after a big rain, so I'm not sure what had this guy out today, but he was really something. Not nearly as colorful as your creeper though!

BigMama said...

BTW, my kids were wondering how big he was. The scale is difficult to see on the pic. Thanks!

chanchanchepon said...

yeah, he's pretty cool, and tiny too. He's maybe two inches long, but I would put him more at an inch and a half. Pretty massive looking with my macro though. I am not a huge fan of the macro function on my camera, but it ain't half bad.

Cool story about the earthworm though too. It's good to observe.

BigMama said...

Well, the pic is awesome, even if it does make him look gigantic (my husband said that he looks like a monster that Hagrid might keep!).

As for observing, I've found that my kids have demanded that I keep my eyes open. It's very easy for me to shut myself up at my computer or with a crafty something or other and completely ignore the outside world. But since the kids are just so fascinated by all of the wonders around us, it's pretty infectious.

batdog said...

Man! You take some really nice pictures.