Friday, July 26, 2013

dying to tell you

I had big news on the crocodile front and the house paint job.  But they can just wait.

Something far more interesting flew into my life tonight.  A black witch moth -- as we know them up north.  But Mexico has a far more colorful appellation for this beauty.  Mariposa de la muerte.  Butterfly of death.

Fortunately, it has broad wings -- the largest for a moth in North America -- to lug around the legends associated with it.  For my neighbors, it heralds bad news.  Usually, deadly news.

It was just about midnight when I headed out to see how the crocodile family was faring with the boys and their late night flashlights.   Walking by one of the outside lights, I could hear wings fluttering in that staccato pattern adopted by all trapped animals.

At first, I thought it was a bird or a bat.  Only a closer look would satisfy my curiosity.

Of course, you know the rest of the story.  It was this magnificent moth.

I started to write that I had not seen one of these moths since 2009 (son of the witch).  But that is exactly how this legend nonsense perpetuates.

The moth I saw in 2009 is memorable because my maid Marta told me that something bad was going to happen.  The date was 2 September 2009.

That date may not mean much to you.  But 12 days later, Professor Jiggs died.

There is really no connection between the two events.  Jiggs was dying slowly before I brought him to Mexico.  The moth brought noting new to the table.  It would have been no more helpful than the IRS telling me 15 April is tax day.

I know I have seen the death moths on other evenings.  But none of the other sightings have the same temporal link with death.

And I have no death worries in this house.
For this fellow, the deadly news was its own. You are only seeing part of its beauty. 

In the time I took the first photograph until I snapped the one you see, the geckos had managed to nip off a portion of its left wing.  It was as if a pack of wolves had cornered a wooly mammoth.

I am glad it landed here.  It gave me an opportunity to read an essay about my early days on this Mexico adventure.  And to realize that not much has changed.

That is a bit comforting.

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