Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Lady Confesses

Yesterday I went to one of my favorite places in the world--the Dallas Arboretum. A good friend and I spent hours wandering around the acres and acres of flowers, shrubs and trees. It was a wonderfully peaceful way to spend a day--and nourishment for the soul.

I confessed something to my friend that made him laugh and thought I would share the story here, too.

In recent years, local plant nurseries have begun to sell bags of ladybugs for people to scatter in their gardens. Ladybugs are extremely helpful little critters that eat lots of bad bugs.

I have especially fond memories of ladybugs. Living in New Jersey as a child, there were jillions of ladybugs in our yard--along with lightning bugs and Japanese beetles. They were a part of my good childhood memories.

The bags of ladybugs began appearing in nurseries the spring after my father died. I suspect my dad's death had a lot to do with what I did that year.

I winced to look at the three or four bags sitting on nursery counters because you could see the dying and dead bugs through the mesh. In a burst of insect sympathy that spring, I bought up all the bags in my local store so that I could release the bugs before the rest of them died, too.

Naturally, the nursery just hauled out new bags and, each time I visited, there were two or three more.

There's a limit to how many ladybugs one property can support. I released subsequent bags in my neighbors' yards. After I'd saturated my immediate neighborhood, I began my Ladybug Liberation Front. I conceived the notion of bringing the bags of bugs to the Dallas Arboretum to free them there. I figured the Arboretum gardens probably constituted bug paradise.

I am a long-time member of the Arboretum. Each visit, I would enter the park with more bugs inside my picnic basket and a blanket over my arm. I roped my boyfriend into my guerilla-style operation although he was not happy to be drafted. One of us would act as lookout while the other freed the prisoners. Over that one spring and summer, we released at least a dozen bags into the park.

The funny thing is--the following spring--the Arboretum began selling ladybugs in their own little "Arboretum Tubs of Bugs"--clearly a homemade gimmick to get rid of their excess insects.

I guess my inadvertent bug breeding program was a success--in more ways than one. I know it helped me at a difficult time in my life. And, I still smile today to see one of the descendents of that spring of liberation flying among the rose bushes at my home or at the Arboretum.

Thanks, J, for a lovely day yesterday.

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