Monday, March 22, 2010

Ladybugs who surf

Yesterday we visited Ecola State Park, and it was as magical a trip to the coast as any I've ever taken. The road down to the beach showed moss between the tire ruts, and the green-cloaked spruce dripped the last exhalations of the morning's rainshowers. The sky showed that wonderful chiaroscuro Prussian blue that fills my heart with content.

Oddly enough, after a lovely half hour walk along the water and some good stone skipping, we discovered a swarm of ladybugs along the line of waves. Many were dead already, their little bodies flattened by the pounding surf, but as we looked more closely, we noticed that several were still crawling desperately for dry land. We immediately set about helping them.

It's not easy to scoop a ladybug out of wet sand. Tools help. A flat bit of driftwood or a chunk of clam shell works best. You can get several sand-&-bug clumps that way, saving a whole group of little beetles. If you pick them up with your gloved hand, you'd be amazed how firmly they can grip on to the fabric. A ladybug could get hurt being brushed off when it's really clinging tightly.

You'd be amazed, too, how much of a beating those little creatures can take. We spent about half an hour scooping up ladybugs, watching wave after wave fall down on their little heads. Big waves, small waves, waves loaded with clinging foam--the ladybugs just took the beating and then kept pushing their way on to safety. My heart swelled to watch them struggle against odds so unimaginably steep.

I don't know why the ladybugs went down to the water yesterday. I don't know if we really helped them by moving them up above the tideline, and if we did help them, I don't know how many we really rescued. At least fifty, I think.

But I do know that watching a barely motile creature sit in the sunshine, stretch her wings and begin crawling about made me happy. And I do know that of all the people (there weren't a ton of people, but a good twenty or so) on that beach, we were the only ones who noticed the mysterious ladybird beetles. I feel as if the hand of mystery reached out to us and we shook like old friends.

1 comment:

Miriam S. Forster said...

Awwww! That's kind of heartbreaking and awesome all at the same time.

Also, I gave you an award on my blog today, if you'd like it. :)