On a Thanksgiving walk with my grandson, amidst the post oaks on the outskirts of Austin where we could feel both the pull of the growing city at our backs and the stretching prairie before us, I experienced one of those transcendental moments that make nature so mysterious and awe-inspiring.
The air was a pleasant warmth and the potent sunlight was mottled by the golden hue of the leaves, Autumn comes late down here. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, came a group of ladybugs. To call them a swarm seems unnecessary negative for the experience was truly a happy one. They fluttered about and looked to rest on the greenery about us, as well as our own bare skin, a crease in the neck, a patch of forehead, a swath of forearm. It was kind of delightful.
I know enough to understand that, scientifically, insects are essential to the health of our ecosystems. But I realized that I have never paid enough attention to their world. And I vowed then, and repeat now upon further reflection, that I will endeavor to give insects more attention and heed. There is so much to learn, to explore, and to appreciate about our fragile planet.
When I got home, I searched for the proper term for a group of ladybugs and learned that it is “loveliness,” as in a “loveliness of ladybugs.” I let out a deeply satisfying chuckle. How poetic. How true. How lovely. How perfect.