I have glimpses of cars in a parking lot through the limbs of the trees. With most trees, the picture would be clearer in the winter. However with live oaks, leaves are constantly present. On weekdays, I can see groups of students hurrying to class just beneath my glass to the world. This time of year, I also see the tour groups — loosely bunched newcomers following the lead of a student recruiter. Parents and future collegians walking together a path that only the youngsters will tread next fall.
Inside my office, my shelves bulge with books, papers, and bulging binders. Tucked away in cabinets are various supplies; and somewhere, there is a really old granola bar. As I sit at my keyboard and peck out these words, I can see electrical wires and various cables that connect this machine to my printer and my phone and the network that hooks me directly into the world-wide web.
And down one of those long, vinyl-coated portals to civilization, I occasionally see a flash of movement and of color. These seeming apparitions used to startle me. Now I know that it's just one of them. They seem fascinated with the maze of connections behind my computer. Like little wanderers on nature paths, they slowly move through the techno-mess I've created. They have no fear of me. During particularly long phone conversations, I sometimes reach over and block their progress with my finger. Patiently, they wait, and if I don't move, they crawl aboard and I move them to my sleeve or to the edge of my computer screen. I rarely see more than one at any given time. I've heard that their life expectancy is two to three months. I have no idea of the age of the one sitting in front of me now.
There was a time when I would undertake a rescue mission. Scooping the small creature in the palm of my hand, I would move quickly outside and gently place the small bundle of life on the limb of a tree or among the sheltering vines of the ivy growing in the flowerbeds. But, it's cold now and I've never seen one of them living naturally during the winter — except, of course, in my office.
It's on those mornings that I find their little dried remains that I wonder if I'm doing the right thing by allowing them to stay so long with me. I experience some remorse as I sweep the tiny body into my hand and as I drop it with little ceremony into the trash. A couple of times through the day, I find myself looking for movement among the tangle of wires. A certain loneliness hangs heavily for a while.
Ladybugs are the only member of the insect kingdom that evoke such feelings from me.
Maybe that's why I like sharing my office with them. Maybe that's why I'm always pleased to see the replacement beetle take her place on the credenza there by the window. Maybe that's why this odd occurrence of wildlife stirs my imagination.
Whatever the reason, I've found myself thankful that God has provided me with a link back to His creation. For someone stuck in the world of words, numbers, and machines that spread information at close to the speed of light, the presence of a patient and plodding ladybug restores the sense of wonder that I too easily squander among those notations on my busy calendar.
Less notations, more ladybugs — now that's what this world needs.