Duality – Hummingbird Hawk Moths, Hornworms, and the Nature of Reality

Posted by on May 7, 2017 in Living Intentionally | No Comments




Duality is my intentional focus word this week.  Duality is that concept that polar opposites are part of the same whole. But more than that, they are intimately related and give rise to the other. In the yin-yang symbol of Chinese philosophy, the white part of the symbol has a dot of black and the black part of the symbol has a dot of white. The seed of each already exists in its opposite.

duality yin-yang

Duality  was inspired by a discussion I had with my daughter Melody whose Houston garden has an infestation of tomato horn worms. Worm is a misnomer. They are giant voracious caterpillars that gnaw huge chunks out of tomatoes.  I will not post a picture of the tomato horn worm because I think they are alien looking and rather ugly. However that is simply my opinion.  Melody thought they were intriguing.  So if you’d like to see a picture to decide for yourself, click here.

The first time I encountered one I was about five years old and it was on a tomato leaf in my grandfather’s garden.  It didn’t go well for the horn worm.  My grandfather pulled the leaf off of the plant, doused it with lighter fluid and lit it on fire. I was horrified. And while I don’t recommend that method of insect control, I can recognize that my grandfather and I were pretty in sync about our dislike of this large caterpillar.

I’ve not seen any in my  Denver garden for a number of years. But because of our discussion and subsequent research yesterday,  I discovered that tomato hornworms morph into the beautiful hummingbird hawk moths that I often watch pollinate flowers at dusk.  I had no idea. Hummingbird hawk moths look remarkably like hummingbirds when you first encounter them. They hover near flowers, have a long proboscis for feeding on flowers, and flap their wings rapidly.  And like hummingbirds, they are enchanting to watch.

The garden is always a microcosm for me. There is a duality with this moth that I find really interesting.  It’s the same creature and yet from my human/gardener point of view, I like the moth so much more than the caterpillar. But that’s all about ME and my perspective.  It is just doing its thing whether a moth or a caterpillar. And more importantly, we can’t have one without the other.  Until yesterday, I was ignorant of the fact that the two were related.  I wasn’t paying attention.

So my work this week is to consider what else am I not noticing about duality and the connecting point of opposites?

This is week 19 of my intentional focus word experiment. I can’t believe I have made it this far!  For  more information on my  focus word experiment click here. 

More Information

For a lovely article about hornworms posted at Dave’s Garden site see  Tomato Hornworm, Friend or Foe? by Jill Nicolaus


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: