Once when I was a child I brought a Cecropia moth home and kept it for a short time, but not
until twenty years afterward did I have one at close enough range to take a picture. I did not see it until one summer morning when a little boy brought me a fine specimen in a pasteboard box with a perforation in the top. I took it out, and found it so numb with cold that it could not cling to a twig. I knew that these moths lived only a short time, and fearing that this one was near death focused the camera on a branch and tried again to make it cling. The fourth effort was successful, though the moth crept so far away before it settled that I had to change the shutter. It took less than a minute, but when I looked around my fine Cecropia was sailing over the top of the elm trees near the orchard!
Some months later, after one of the most trying days I ever spent afield, I came home to find a
Cecropia slowly working its wings up and down on the top steps of the cabin. I reached for my
net. The moth for which I had waited twenty years was mine!
Editor’s Note: Gene studied moths while she lived at the Limberlost cabin in Geneva. A cabinet
of the moths she collected is still on display over the fireplace in the first floor bedroom where it has remained over 100 years. We think her book “Moths of the Limberlost” is one of her best
works. The Friends of the Limberlost have it for sale in the gift shop at the Limberlost Visitor