I found the wings of a luna moth in my garden this week, right next to where the yellow sundrops bloom. Just wings. Neatly stacked on top of themselves, like a tiny and fallen house of cards. There was no body. Just wings.
I stopped and stared and wondered where the heart of this magic night creature had gone. Ashes to ashes, perhaps.
We find things like this on our wooded property with some regularity. Deer skulls, turtle shells, empty nests. But the luna moth and its wings made me stop longer than I usually do. A reminder we are fragile and fleeting.
Two great-uncles — my grandfather’s younger hermanos — died in Miami within two days of each other earlier this month. One was 89. The other 93. Of eight siblings, one remains. In those couple of days, it felt as if the link between my family’s past and future was weakening. These two great-uncles were fixtures of my childhood. They were there during regular and casual visits, for big family gatherings. One was somewhat reserved, the other always smiling. I always remember them in guayaberas. They were a link to my beloved grandfather, my funny great-grandmother, to a country and culture 90 miles across the ocean. And, in 48 hours, both were gone. A quick and ironic ending to lives well-lived.
That luna moth reminded me I am glad I tell stories, keep notes for my daughter so she knows the people from whom she comes.
We are here, bump up against the light, and leave behind a pile of color. A fragile and fleeting link in a chain.
I’ve kept the wings.
* foto by urtica