Weeding outside (as if it were an activity I would do anywhere else), I was fighting the biting wind and wishing the weather had lived up to its wonderful forecasts. Should I put down my trowel long enough to get a heavier sweater or at least find long pants?
As my debate continued, I felt a light touch on my bare leg. There sat the loveliest little bug, a golden beetle. I am not an authority on bugs or even what constitutes a beetle so maybe this wasn't. What it was was stunningly gorgeous. Gold shell with an intricate design down its hard little back and the neatest rust-red legs. All six.
Rather than use it with another weeding column next summer, I decided to let it be for this December and talk about unexpected blessings in the season upon us.
I certainly don't want to sound like Scrooge and I'm all for Merry Christmas and all the joys of the season. I am also aware that it - unlike my little bug - isn't always a golden time. As the years mount, we get tired more quickly than we'd like. And the jobs and responsibilities seem to grow taller even if the tree doesn't. There are those who are alone and those who wish they could be.
Harrumph! I am not that old - I never will be - nor do I view the season as bleak. The carols are as gorgeous as ever. The laughter of a young child still brings an irrepressible smile to my lips. And the beauty of the world is there, all round me.
My little gold bug has even more to teach.
I carefully moved it to the ground while scurrying inside to get my camera. It took a few minutes once I was back to find him again for the color blended almost too well with the gold of the leaves and the brownish-gray of the rocks through which my ubiquitous weeds were springing.
I placed him back on my leg where just minutes earlier he'd seemed quite happy. He slipped right off, quite a fall comparable to his tiny size. I located him and tried again. And again it was a case of freefall back to the ground.
I didn't understand.
Why couldn't he hold on now when he had seemed so settled - and able to walk freely - before?
Too stubborn to give up - OK, this also beat pulling the 792nd blade of grass - I gave him another chance. This time he held on.
Little toes or a beetle-y stick-um? I don't know and he didn't seem too absolutely certain either. I got a series of pictures but this time, when gravity seemed to be winning, I let him go. Actually, I scooted on to a new area to work.
Whether it's a bug or a frog or a flower, most seem to present themselves for my delight only once and then move on. All right, maybe the flowers hang around and, especially the not-so-lovely ones, manage to propagate so I'll never not see them.
The point being there will always be something new coming to delight - and excite. I'm nearing a nest of some sort of birds who have a great deal to say right now. Are they discussing me? Or Minor perhaps? He's stretched out immediately beside me.
So much to think about. So much to see. So much to wonder over in this great world of ours during this magical season. (Even if there are those moments when we might wish it would all go away.)
And I haven't even gotten to the frankincense and myrrh!
Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org