Last week I ventured outside for some yard work. The air had a hint of warmth. A subtle heat radiated from the late afternoon sun. I still needed a light jacket on, but it didn’t feel chilly. It was a welcome change following several large snowstorms all in the month of March.

Armed with a yard waste bag, a claw, and some gloves, I set to work clearing out the leaves. Each stroke of the claw revealed a delightful trove of ladybugs. Dozens of them gleaming like fiery-red embers against a backdrop of subtle browns. I lost count of how many I saw dotting the garden. They tromped around fearlessly.

My heart soared to see my aphid-eating troopers already in position, and I’m sure, hungry after a long winter. Although I try to have a healthy respect for all creatures, even creepy things like earwigs, I can’t muster up a lot of love for aphids. I suppose their one redeeming quality is providing a free lunch for ladybugs. If this means I get to see more ladybugs, I guess they’re not all bad.

Seeing so many ladybugs also reminded me of spring’s force. Once spring starts, it’s unstoppable, even if a random storm or freezing night occurs. No matter what happens, the cycle is reborn, providing fresh opportunities and new beginnings, even to things we seem to do routinely year after year.

True to form, it did actually drop to freezing. One week later, I returned to my yard work, this time with a heavy coat on, feeling a slight chill. The claw hit clumps of frozen dirt. A sheet of ice covered the outdoor planters that had collected water when it rained. My fingers numbed clearing out debris. Even still, dozens of ladybugs lay nestled in the leaves, huddled together on dead stalks and new growth. They weren’t moving as much as the week before, likely because it was cold, but they were still just as vibrant.

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