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Saturday 22 March 2014


File:Coccinella transversalis 2.jpg

Transverse Ladybird (Coccinella transversalis), Austins Ferry, Tasmania: photo by JJ Harrison, 27 August 2009

The ladybug I clumsily tried to rescue
But crushed under the window sill today
Isn't going to get over it

Did I suppose
Upon this well meant intervention
t would gratefully fly off homeward

Strange reward
Beautiful things ought to be left alone
In a natural state

A 22-spot yellow-punctuated ladybird (Psyllobora vigintiduopunctuata), Dresden, Lower Saxony: photo by Olaf Leillinger, 25 September 2005
File:Ladybird coccinella septempunctata.jpg

Seven-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctuata), Oxfordshire: photo by Charlesjsharp, 18 October 2013


Mose23 said...

Being a clumsy sod myself I do identify with this.

Letting beauty alone is a good law. Very hard for minds with a colonial turn.

TC said...

Many thanks WB.

And amen to that last bit.

(Coincidentally -- or perhaps not -- this began as a small commemoration of our 46th wedding anniversary... and gradually dwindled down into this wee rueful message to myself.)

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

First, congratulations on your 46th! We just had our 34th... and going through Berkeley in the 60s I never thought I'd be with someone thaaat long...

Second, I have a poem somewhere about letting an insect out the door and thinking it saying, "Thank you," as it flies off, but I can't find it... So here's an analogous one perhaps...


I think of your family

but they’re probably not thinking of you,

if “thinking” is the proper word to use
for what squirrels do.

Mose23 said...

I guess if you'd let beauty wholly alone you wouldn't be celebrating your 46th. Happy anniversary to you both!

TC said...

Oh, Daniel, how could we have known, back then, that as much as some things would change, others would not!

It's as delightful for me to read you now as it was back then, for example.

And there are few things that match the pathos of road kill.

The ladybug I so clumsily crushed (earth to major tom: never try to rescue a ladybug while supporting yourself uneasily with cane) was the tiny yellow kind, as the one pictured just below the poem here.

Held the window open with one hand while the genius of the household gently lifted the ladybug out with a pincer movement involving two small bits of paper.

Then let the window back down... a moment too soon.

These past few years I've been made to understand how important a few fractions of a seconds can be -- I think I'm talking about that curious human invention called Fate, a concept which I am pretty certain never enters into whatever it is happens in the intelligences of squirrels or ladybugs -- in determining the outcome of the life of an individual organism, person or other.

It takes only a fraction of a second to terminate a life that took untold eons of evolution to produce.

I've been housebound for the past month now, limited to staring out the window at the nonstop bumper to bumper traffic on the freeway feeder. In thus wise I have witnessed one serious auto accident, and several near misses.

The drivers rushing to get and spend don't even bother to swerve to avoid animals. Flattened pelt-parchments are a not uncommon sight. This morning Angelica came back from a courageous descent down into the maelstrom, and, after seeing your comment, reported that the corpse of a crushed squirrel has been lying in the (alleged) pedestrian crosswalk, in the direct traffic stream, for the past month or so, being run over a time after time until the remains are as thin as onionskin paper.

I wondered at which point in this continuing karmic nightmare the soul of that squirrel escaped out of its body.

TC said...

Thanks again WB, hadn't seen that till just now.

Yes, my fatal inability to leave Beauty alone has caused no end of trouble over the years.

Poor, poor Beauty!

All love from both of us here to you and the Wooden Girl.

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

Ah... and the "fate" of my posting a squirrel poem onto a site across the country not far from a crash-site of a very denizen of the species...

Sweet words Tom... and in honor of your's and Angelica's longtime marriage, here's a poem/prayer I wrote for my daughter's marriage a few years ago and I now present for your anniversary. It's admittedly florid, and her friends wore tie-dye shirts and flowers in their hair... a throwback ceremony for sure... Perhaps you'll flow back into the zone... blessed by your ladybug in bug heaven for a good try gone awry...


This is the marriage of a
very small horse and a giant green valley
at the dawn of the world

This is the marriage of sea foam and the
wind that blows it into spray

This is the marriage of a dark cupboard and a
hand that reaches in looking for diamonds

This is the marriage of all our faces to the
soul that makes them smile then makes them weep
then makes them smile again
a turquoise songbird and the emerald
branch it lands on

This is the marriage of sky and stars
light extending by day but going out by night with
a million lanterns to see itself by
self-illumined, eyes ablaze, singing at the top of its voice
like our hearts,

This is the marriage God wanted with us
before the creation of the world
before the Gate of mist and topaz opened
before the gorgeous fires around the edges of things ignited
alive squiggles outlining each loveable entity

This is the marriage of two people in a canyon of glass
under a real sun in a
procession of elephants and gazelle
both bringing the entire biological mystery together
to be delicately tied tendril by tendril into the knot of life
watched over by eagles wheeling the sky ¬
by blind worms deep in their earthly meditations

This is the marriage of a
room and going into it
of a house and entering by the front door
of a country and obtaining a valid passport
of the air and the mockingbird's song that
flows into it
of a river and setting out in a green canoe to explore
new continents and their whispering people
and the extraordinary black orchids that grow there in the dark
in even the worst of circumstances

I call on the colors of the rainbow to bear witness
sun glint on wave troughs

I call on the very thoughts that pass through our heads
at this instant to bear witness

O God, we are your loving creatures
still dew-sprinkled from the first
deep ache of creation
trying to stand full height in a strong
wind to call on You

Fill their youth with the wisdom of the seas
God's navigation by the stars
the sound of waves calling His Ninety-Nine Names
one by one and all together, never asleep

This is the marriage of our feet and the very
earth they stand on

The bodies we stand in
sinew by sinew and the inclinations of our souls

Two bodies a man and a woman
gazing at each other from their
facing towers of parakeets and milk pitchers
nasturtiums and spontaneous song
desire for perfection and deep knowledge of God in the heart

And we bear witness to it
before foam passes over a waterfall
and is gone

Before the flower of our lives becomes married to the
root of our deaths

With a tiny white horse in a green valley
at the dawn of the world

And we ride away into the light

TC said...


That's a beauty.

I keep coming back to:

the marriage of a dark cupboard and a
hand that reaches in looking for diamonds

ACravan said...

Happy wedding anniversary to you. Wow. As for your sad description of the ladybug accident, I'm terribly sorry for both of you. I've been there too. Regarding "roadkill," you're absolutely correct. They don't even bother to swerve. Curtis and Caroline

TC said...

Thanks C & C.

Hazen said...

Congratulations Tom to you and Angelica on making the long journey together. Wishing you both much happiness. These thoughts come a bit late, but these days time and the world slip through my fingers like sand, like wind. Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home . . .

TC said...

Thanks my friend.

I suppose we'll all -- ladybugs, squirrels, people -- end up in the same boat as Leadbelly's boll weevil.