I approach my forays into nature knowing it is an opportunity to learn. Wildlife often show remarkable ingenuity while searching for food, protecting their young or navigating long distances to seasonal homes.
When I ventured into the vast cedar mulch wilderness (coincidently a few feet from my house), I wondered what I could learn from ladybugs.
I watched them march through incredibly difficult terrain, weaving in and out of obstacles many times their size, often hanging by a few toes upside down. They would climb to the tips of grass blades (which would be the equivalent of me scaling office towers) and then go on to conquer the next obstacle. This was incredible. What a great example.
After a few hours I began to ask tougher questions. Where exactly were they going? When I stuck a twig in various ladybugs’ path, they jumped on it, walked to the top and then did it again when I turned the stick. I began to be suspicious that they had no idea where they were going and just seemed to nod off for a while oblivious to their surroundings. Perhaps they were not such great leaders.
When they arrived at a summit, they seemed genuinely surprised where they were. And then they repeated the process on the next obstacle. Perhaps their long-term strategy needed some work.
After getting ladybugs to wander aimlessly around my sticks and on a nearby cedar I thot I was pretty much in control. Then suddenly one flew off! I was so mesmerized by their ground game, I had forgotten about the aerial option. All that futile walking to get nowhere, then this? Perhaps they could make better use of their capability.
“So much for learning,” I though as I marched pompously out of the wilderness. These ladybugs were only a bad leadership example.
Today it occurred to me that perhaps the ladybugs regrouped after our little session and had a good laugh about how they had fooled me. It wouldn’t be the first time I misread a situation involving a lady.