Friday, May 1, 2009


This morning I swept up another dead lady bug, small reminder of the advent of Spring when this insect seemed part of an epidemic on the Mountain, crawling through the house looking for aphids that didn’t exist since we have no indoor plants. I wrote about the winsome orange bug with black dots in an earlier blog, but have since experienced the bugs’ activity in a different way; i.e., the day following the death of a good friend and priest when I wrote this poem about encountering the insect in the dining room:

A ladybug appeared on the white sofa,
orange shell with black dots,

missing two right legs,
struggling to fly away to her children

all alone, the house afire.

I scooped her into my palm,
placing her on the oak dining table

and checked her progress all morning.
Would she miraculously renew her own body?

While eating lunch, I lost her beneath the table
where she hovered on a red flower of the Turkish rug,

searched under chairs for a half hour,
and when I found her,

made her a new home in a silver spoon.

After lunch, I took her outdoors
where the wind blew her out of my open palm

into the unseeing, unhearing universe,
a spotted, rapidly-moving reincarnation…

name of John.

Since that time I’ve learned a lot about ladybugs -- how they symbolize good luck and are the state insects of Tennessee where I currently live. The Turks refer to ladybugs as lucky bugs, and the French call them “beta a bon Dieu,” or “The Good Lord’s Animal,” and in Russia, the ladybug is sometimes called “Little Messiah.” I didn’t know any of this wonderful lore when I wrote about Fr. John, and the readings move me to ponder the synchronicity of the universe.

I know that every time I see a ladybug crawling in the house or garden, I’ll think of Fr. John simultaneously with the story of Danish children who ask the “Mary’s Hen” to fly “to Our Lord in Heaven and ask for fairer weather in the morning.”
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