We were on our way to the store when I happened to notice something unusual on the sweetgum tree (Liquidambar) — a bit of celadon porcelain with something fluffy and white attached.
A Luna moth (Actias luna), newly emerged from its cocoon, so new that its wings were still stuck together, it had climbed part way up the tree trunk and was waiting patiently while it became fully adult. We looked under the tree, but never found any remnant of what had been shed.
Its wings stayed folded for a very long time while we came and went, checking on it at intervals. Eventually its front wings opened revealing a pair of “eyes”, turning its back into a kind of eerie mask.
We waited some more. Toward evening the sky darkened and rain, sporadically hard, fell. The moth climbed a bit higher in the tree, settling amid a large patch of lichen nearly the same color as its wings.
When I checked on it again later, to see if its hind wings had finally opened, the moth was gone.