I would not have stepped foot outside today, except to quickly water the patch of grass and sweep the debris quickly from the patio. The last gusts of winter would have held me indoors – happily of course, with tea to sip and textiles to stitch. But they drew me out, those two adventurers who I love, those two brave-hearts who are neither deterred nor slowed by north winds and near freezing temperatures.

So we ran in the morning sun, and played hopscotch with chalk, we laughed and chased and dug weeds. And then we discovered you, ladybug. And your colony.

You and dozens more like you were nestled deep into the cracks of bark on the willow tree. We coaxed three of you onto our fingers to count your spots. Then we put you back to hide away in your shells one more day until spring rushes in with her glorious vines and blooms and every shade of green and warm breezes.

I’ll always remember you, you elegant, simple ladybug. And the laughter of those wild babies of mine on this last winter’s day. And your 18 black spots.

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