Nature Wisdom

With Pat Tuholske, Naturalist

The Call

Every year for the past decade, we’ve had large cocoons dangling from our tulip tree. I remember the first one I discovered. It had a huge impact me in many ways. All winter I watched it hanging on the tulip tree. Suspended by a thick silken band, the cocoon was bigger than any I had ever seen. Mummy-like, it hung there for a very long time. I wondered if it was dead. Ice crystals covered it in January, rains soaked it in March, windstorms tossed it in April. Spring turned to summer. Still it hung from the twig.

Walking passed the tulip tree one afternoon, something felt different. From the corner of my awareness flickered an irradiance. There, clutching the outgrown cocoon, was a moth the size of a sun-softened peach. She displayed the colors of rich deep red clay, the texture of soft velvet, antennae as big as hummingbird feathers.

I studied her as she dangled, drying in the sun. Examining the intricate patterns of her wings, she was identified in the field guide as a giant silk moth…uncommonly rare in the Ozarks. What was the story of this creature? I wondered if I could follow the complex pathways mapped on her wings. To what inner world would I be guided?

As the sun turned to late afternoon, abruptly there were two. They were mating. How could that be? She had just emerged from her cocoon. Before flight, before food, the act of procreation was priority. I was to find out the female lives only a few days after laying eggs.

I was witnessing the Calling Time. The female moth releases chemical pheromones to attract the male. The male has highly sensitive feather-like antennae and can answer the Call from miles away. The Calling Time is only a few brief hours for the giant silk moth… 3:00 p.m. until sunset. That these two rarely seen beings find each other in the vastness of the realm of air is testimony to nature’s intelligence.

How simple it seems. Send out the Call, it is answered. Know your purpose and you find it. Trust that your needs will be met. Seems like we humans forget that we are part of the natural world, too. We can each experience our own Calling Time. In its wisdom, nature always provides. We just have to pay attention.

Check out Pat’s “Nature Chronicles” for musings on the Human-Nature relationship at pattuholske.com. See her Wild Wreaths and Prayer Wheels crafted from Ozark native plants at willowrainherbalgoods.com.