visitor on a Mondrian rug
The rug on our living room floor elicits the same comment from nearly everyone who sees it. “Mondrian!” they all exclaim, delighted at their own cleverness… and then disappointed when we don’t seem nearly as impressed by their original insights as we properly ought to be. F. said the same thing when he first saw the rug when we were dating. Even I said the same thing when my sister first brought it into our house in Atlanta.
It’s a lovely rug, with overlapping squares of primary color that really liven up a room. I’m rather fond of it, and I’m certainly grateful my sister decided to pass it on to me when we all moved, especially as it matches the furniture, which is vivid scarlet.
All this indoor color helps a lot at this time of the year. The window that frames my desk looks out on a landscape of leaf mold and bare branches, shades of beige, rust, brown, and grey. A volunteer nandina, no doubt planted by a bird, has sprouted in the bank of half-exposed earth on the far side of the lane from where I sit, and holds one brilliant cluster of red berries aloft, shining even in the shade.
Halfway up the slope, a magnolia sapling holds its handful of emerald leaves out to catch the rays of the sun. With the leaf canopy stripped away for the winter, it’s got a chance to store up energy and establish a foothold in the midst of the forest. During high summer, I might never notice its stained-glass leaves at all.
But it’s still a much more colorful landscape inside, and perhaps that’s what attracts the occasional visitor. This one came in to see us recently. I’ve since learned that after cold spells, whenever there’s a slight warming, ladybugs do tend to try to find their way inside the houses, so ours is probably not the only one to be receiving social calls.
I took it as a sign of good luck for the new year. But, of course, we’re not dealing with an infestation.
(Knock on wood.)
Anyway, for a gardener, these little ones are almost always a form of good luck. They’re incredible predators of aphids, for one thing. I did recently learn from Shelly over at MOBugs, however, that not all ladybugs are beneficial.
Just beware, if you receive a good-luck visit, that gently placing the ladybug outside, in an effort not to kill it, will probably be fatal. A well-warmed ladybug is no match for the outside temperatures. Outdoors, with relatively little protection, the insects’ body functions slow to such an extent that they can and do survive sub-freezing temperatures quite well. But that requires a gradual process as the seasons change.
I allowed this one to crawl off into a crevice somewhere, hoping she’ll ride out the winter with us and live to produce aphid-eating progeny for the victory garden in spring.
And now I’m sending you her portrait with good luck wishes for all — and wishes for a relaxing weekend, too!