Mirror-Windows

August 8, 2007

Antheraea oculea

Here is Antheraea oculea, the Oculea Moth, that I found while photographing ferns.  It is closely related to the Polyphemus Moth of the eastern forest, but lacks the pink shading and the purple band on the hindwing, and has larger forewing eyespots.  The eyespots are little windows – they are bare of scales and you can see through them.  Some species of these giant silk moths have mirrors – eyespots covered in reflective silvery white scales – and some have both.

There is much to see through these windows now, in the wettest monsoon since 2000.  The rain brings colorful caterpillars, metallic jewelled Plusiotis scarabs, many kinds of mushrooms (some rarely seen in the desert), and summer wildflowers that only appear in years of heavy rain.  It is as if the winged windows themselves bring these wonders. 

In bedrock washes, the mirror-pools of standing water attract everyone, and this is the time of year that the jaguar walks north and looks for his reflection in these tinajas. 

The mirror-window is a recurring theme that seems to keep working its way into my art.  Some of my first pieces of iron jewelry were “mirror-window” pendants that held pieces of mica.  They reflected pearlescent light and a hint of color, but you could look through them and see another world.

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One Response to “Mirror-Windows”

  1. Karin said

    Here too, we can peep through.

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