For those rare people who are unfamiliar with the small round beetle, the “ladybug,” we would offer the following description. Ladybugs are yellow-orange, rather small beetles, with black spots on their folded wings. Liked by farmers and gardening enthusiasts, they prey on very small, (but harmful to vegetation) insects such as aphids, mites and certain other agricultural pests. We like them, however, because they are cute, colorful, small and especially, good company, when in the garden. Since they are the first insects to show up, in spring, we are at present, anxiously, and impatiently, awaiting some discernable sign of their perennial appearance. In truth, it is better that we not worry; they will come out from the rotten tree trunks, from under rocks or houses, on their own schedule. Candidly speaking, they may have already made their first appearance, which we failed to observe.
It may be useful and enlightening, to recount the unusual short history of our close, interpersonal relationship with the little, cute beetle; which adoring relationship seems somewhat, bizarre and inconsistent, with our general distaste for insects.
Two years ago, while strolling along the edge of the woodland, in close proximity to our country house, in Kingston, New York, we felt a strange itch at the bridge of our nose. Fortuitously, we chose to gently, reach up to determine the cause; it was “Lexie,” the cute orange-spotted ladybug. Of course, we did not know yet, that it was she, until weeks later, when we came to know each other better, and assign familiar names. The little critter was distinguishable by her orange (instead of normal, black) legs and most uniquely, by her ability to distinguish us from all the environmental flora and fauna and to settle on the identical spot on our nose. In truth, we advised her of our name and named her, “Lexie”, which we considered appropriate for such a cute little critter.
Unfortunately, ladybugs do not speak, but, universally, where there exists true amity, the parties will construe some feasible method of interpersonal, or person and bug, process of mutual interaction. On early Monday morning, of the first week following our first encounter, Lexie, having already eaten her fill of aphids and plant lice from the surface of the nearby plantings, noticed our presence, just outside our front door, and quickly flew over, landing, as previously, on the bridge of our nose. We reached up, very carefully, gently, to hold her, in our hand, for examination, whereupon, we were able to discern the uniquely, identifying, orange legs, which confirmed her identity. Consistently, thereafter, whenever we were out of doors, within ten minutes or so, our tiny black-dotted orange-red new friend would settle on her usual landing pad, and we would together, amble peacefully, together in the woods.
The reader may naturally wonder at the facility and dynamics of our possible mode of communication. The explanation is as follows: People familiar with ladybugs know, that if one of the species lands on one’s hand, and he points his finger upward some innate ladybug tropism will cause the little beetle to climb, upward, toward the tip of that finger. When strolling with Lexie, who, obviously, does not speak, we would customarily, hold her in our palm, fingers uplifted, to facilitate any desired ladybug expression; affirmative responses would be expressed by her in executing the climb up my middle finger, in the same style as if she were then, succumbing to the ladybug tropism. Lexie also utilized the identical technique to call attention to something of interest in the surrounding environment. Both parties, despite the realistic and mature acceptance of the limitations on their social relationship and unrequited desire for more intimate and expressive communication, evidently, developed a mutual fondness for the other.
After approximately twenty minutes of fruitless search for Lexie among the various flower patches, just as we started to go back indoors to avoid the indicated start of rain, we had a somewhat familiar sensation, similar to a small drop of rain, which seemed to land, softly, on the bridge of our nose….