A temporal relation is not proof of causation.
It is one of the first maxims of medicine -- and private eyes. Back pain that begins at work is not necessarily caused by work. And a man sneaking out of a bedroom window is not necessarily a burglar.
I had to dig deep in my memory trunk -- somewhere under the Beach Boy albums -- to recall that little gem last night. While I was out searching for (OK. Everyone say it together) leaf-cutter ants, I noticed three moths hanging on the leaves of the ficus tree.
The same ficus tree where I discovered the red-headed black wooly caterpillars almost a month ago (stop bugging me). I had no idea what type of caterpillars they were. And my internet search left me wide of any target. My best guess is they were the larval form of some variety of tiger moth.
Here were three moths I had never seen before -- and I had no idea what they were.
Now, it would be easy for me to claim that these are the adult forms of the black caterpillars. It is the same tree, after all.
And despite all of my earlier warnings, that is exactly what I am going to claim.
After all, what does it matter? I could not identify the caterpillars. And I cannot identify the moths.
It really doesn't matter what they are. For a month the caterpillars have entertained me, crawling up the newly-painted garden wall. Doing their best to survive in a hostile world.
That may be the moral of this tale. No matter how bad circumstances get, there is hope of survival.
I need to remember that. And you are free to take a slice of it as big as you can stand.