I found this Luna caterpillar in my garden the other day. It is huge and chowing down on my tomatoes like nothing I’ve ever seen. Usually I’m pretty hardcore about keeping the critters of the world off my plants, especially the plants I have a hard time growing. Like tomatoes.
But this is a Luna caterpillar. A big one. A near the chrysalis stage one where it’s whole mission in life right now is to eat and eat and eat and then curl up in a J, wrap itself in a blanket of it’s own making and turn into goo.
I know it will eventually emerge and turn into a Luna Moth. One of my favorite many beautiful things in all of creation.
Every time I see one, my heart expands, I sit in awe, and I’m shaken by it’s pure beauty.
So, obviously, I can’t take it from my tomatoes. In fact, I’m now thankful that those tomatoes landed there for it to find. I’m grateful that I had to move them several times to find what is clearly the right spot. I’m happy to watch it munch away on the leaves of the plant and on the green tomato I was thinking of frying up for lunch later. I’m more then happy to share the harvest and I can’t help but feel that this is a perfect moment.
A moment that in a million small ways was created by all the moments before. A moment that wouldn’t, couldn’t have happened if not for all moments before. The moments that made me move to this land. The moments that made me stay. The moments that made me want to plant things. The moments that made me want to move these plants so they could thrive. And even the moment where my dog wouldn’t pee in his usual spot so I was standing, looking at my tomatoes early this am in a way I normally don’t.
What’s extra beautiful to me is that this moth didn’t know as it was wandering around that it would find a tomato plant. Heck, it may have been hungry and freaking out that it fell out of the last tree it was in. Maybe that long climb up the planter was it’s last hope for food. It couldn’t have known there were delicious green tomatoes up there to eat. Or that the particular spot it’s in is safe from most predators. Or that I view its kind as magic, and so happily share my food with it – this gorgeous piece of all of creation.
It probably doesn’t know that when it reaches some unknown size, it’s genetic programming will tell it to start changing. This beautiful green caterpillar has never made a chrysalis before – it will have to trust its own knowing as it does this. It has to trust that it will be safe while inside. And it will have no clue that at some point, it will emerge again, completely transformed.
It can’t know that it’s kind brings me joy. Reminds me of hope, of faith, of beauty. It doesn’t know that it is sooooo close to being able to fly. To see the world from an entirely different vantage point. It won’t know that other beings of various sizes and shapes are rooting it on, grateful when it appears in their lives, and wishing it well when it leaves.
Right now, it just knows it is hungry and that tomatoes taste good.
All this reminds me of a game I like to play with myself and others – especially with things look bleaker then they should or we’re missing the beauty of the moment. I call it the What If game. It goes something like this…
What if Life, in all its glory and awe and horror and despair is actually a grand adventure?
What if there are no wrong paths or people or choices?
What if what you’re living now is perfect, where you’re going is perfect and where you’ve been is also perfect?