by Theresa Barker
“I don’t know where she thought she was headed/as she ascended the little tower with such confidence/you would think she had an uncle in Tourin/and then went round and round the rim,” – Billy Collins, “Ladybug”
You will say Marigold is an odd name for a ladybug. But she had her own ideas, this ladybug, and her name was just one of them.
Did her family think her crazy? Perhaps, but let’s not talk about that right now.
Can you fault the imagination of such a beautiful creature? Among the fifteen larvae hatching on her particular hatching leaf, Marigold was the only one who chose a name for herself. As soon as her white egg sac split and she entered the world, Marigold, noticing the black-and-yellow striping on her hatch-mates and herself, chose the name “Marigold” in honor of the bright gold-and-green flowers below her hatching leaf.
You may ask, how would a simply ladybug, a beetle, to be technical, be familiar with a thing such as a marigold flower, especially when she is just newly hatched. Well, this is not just any common ladybug we are talking about. This is Marigold.
Plenty of aphids in the surrounding neighborhood of their hatching leaf helped Marigold and her fellow hatchlings to grow, molt, grow, molt, and to finally take on their pupal form, yellow and shrimp-like. You can be sure Marigold was not wasting these precious two weeks as a larvae; already she was shaping the future with stories in her head, stories perhaps inspired by the bright warmth of the sun, the dappled color of the autumn leaves, even the dark bodies of her hatch-mates.
Then came the metamorphosis. Oh, my. In something of a miracle, the yellow skin split open and out emerged Marigold, now an adult. But still an inventor of tales, a tiny being who did not hesitate to dream large. As her pale shell, still hardening in the first few hours, ripened into the dark red with black spots appearance that made her identical to all other adult ladybugs of her acquaintance, indeed to all other ladybugs in the world, Marigold was confident of her mission. Opening her beetle-brown wings from beneath the colorful hard shell that was the hallmark of her species, she set off to find new stories, and to tell her own.
If you happen to see a beautiful ladybug on a warm spring afternoon when green leaves start to unfurl, or in the crisp fall days when the leaves turn, you might ask the creature if it knows Marigold. Very likely you will be surprised by the response you get.
Inspired by Oblivion’s Scent blog post by Monica.
By the same Author: Binge Watch
I have been writing science fiction and literary novels and short stories for about twenty years. I have completed two novels – both unpublished as of yet – and a number of short stories, some of which have been published in small sf publications.
In my “other life,” I have a Ph.D. in Engineering, and I do scientific writing for NOAA to help heal the oceans.
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