Between Skins

Garter Snake left something behind,

a lacy sleeve

of his diamond design.

Soft and fragile,

thin as a whisper.

He breached restriction,

peeled it away.

hooked by the log

inside out and in one piece

the tissue print laid.

Trusting each twist, every turn

Surrendered to the struggle.

I wonder how that feels

to wholly leave behind

all that will not grow with you.

Wet flesh of newborn knowledge

understanding’s tender spiral.

Shedding is both

quiet and beautiful,

skin and tears alike.

Garter Snake and I

both have reached this place

where we can be

stretched no further—

stretched no further.

I looked for him

among dead leaves

and smooth grass.

Perhaps he sought refuge

under dark undergrowth.

Restless as the forces of creativity

Garter Snake can’t be held still

or tight for long.

When stirred hidden passion glows

like embers buried in ash.

In this place—between skins

all of me

wiggled free

by creative energy.

All of me free.

Here grow the light,

live in the sunfields

when you can be stretched no further

leave something behind— leave something behind.

Moth Magic

I wasn’t sure if the cheeks facing me were on the smile end or the seat end of this caterpillar but it didn’t matter. Either way, she made me crack a smile. What a delight to see this amazing cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia) caterpillar in our apple orchard on this dewy fresh morning. She was nearly as big as my thumb!

With a wingspan of 5-6 inches, the cecropia moth is the largest North American moth. All winter will be spent in a 4-5 inch cocoon. In late May, the cercropia moths emerge from their cocoons. The female only lives about two weeks, just long enough to mate and lay eggs.

Because their skin doesn’t grow the cercropia caterpillar goes through several molting phases, each time attaching itself to a silken pad it has spun. When the new skin is fully developed it will literally walk out of its old skin. This cercropia caterpillar is in the fifth instar larvae stage.

If you have the good fortune to see an adult cercropia moth, I promise you will not be disappointed. Their spectacular color and size is something you will not soon forget. The cercropia moth is another example of nature’s marvelous metamorphosis; ever thing in sacred motion.

Moth medicine is that of inner knowing, determination, vulnerability and movement. I wish her well on her magnificent journey of transformation and hope we meet again in the May night, both of us with our wings.