‘Fly away home…’

derbyday 490The ladybird was swimming desperately as I scooped it out, feeling that little rush of warmth at having rescued the tiny creature from a watery death. It wasn’t happy, but I placed it on the side of the sink to dry out while I soaked. I would take it outside when I was clad in something more decorous than a towel.

From my supine position in the steam, I could see it begin to move, flexing its legs and shifting on the slippery surface; a tiny splash of colour against the porcelain. I like ladybirds. As a child, they always fascinated me and I was almost offended when I read that they could bite. Surely… they wouldn’t?

They are called ladybirds, apparently, for the Virgin Mary, who was often shown cloaked in red in the early paintings. The seven spots of one of the commonest types were said to symbolise her joys and her sorrows. There is an older association, with the Norse goddess, Freya too; it is said the ladybird came to earth riding a bolt of lightning There is a lot of old lore about them… as predictors of weather, for instance. It would rain if one fell into your hand. It is true they do not fly when the world is chilled.

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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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15 Responses to ‘Fly away home…’

  1. Missed it very much last year (2020) because, with the pandemic, we weren’t allowed to use the outdoor pool much.

    My job when I go in, in the late afternoons when the water is as warm as it will be for the day, but the sun is going down behind our building to the west (so we don’t bother with sunscreen), is to rescue the confused bumblebees (and an occasional wasp) who are drowning in the big pool of salty water they didn’t expect. And to avoid getting accidentally stung.

    It is my exercise: I wander about looking for the ripples in the water that indicate a little struggler, and get it out of the pool and to where it can dry its tiny wings. Some make it – seem more annoyed than hurt – and fly off when ready. As I say of a moth struggling that way in my debut novel, “They have such brief lives.” One of my favorite scenes. People show you who they are by what they do.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      I agree, Alicia…and it can be very revealing…


      • I’m sending you the scene because you might enjoy it! I hope the spacing works – WordPress doesn’t help sometimes.

        …Her head turned abruptly and she stooped back down.
        He followed the direction of her gaze: in the little pool a moth struggled, rippling the surface and scattering bits of light.
        “Wait! It’s still alive.” She scooped it out. “Rats. It’s plastered to my finger.”
        “Ye’re afraid of moths?” He reached over to brush it off.
        “Don’t! Its wings’ll shred like wet tissue paper.” She examined the moth closely. She brought it to her lips and blew a soft steady air stream.
        “What in heaven’s name are ye doing?” Was she trying to blow it off?
        “Evaporating the water.” She returned to blowing.
        Of course.
        She held the moth up. “See? His antennae are coming unstuck. Drat! I don’t know if I can get him off in one piece.”
        Not yer usual entertainment? “Need help?”
        “If I try too soon I’ll rip his wing right off.” She used the tip of her nail to raise the edge of the wing. “It’s drying.” She sounded satisfied. She lifted the opposite wing’s edge, blew, made a frustrated humph. “My damned nails are too short. Do you have a key—anything sharp?”
        He brought out his Swiss Army knife, unfolded a blade.
        “Perfect!” She blew, alternated with freeing the wings with a jeweler’s precision, until all four quivered in the gentle breeze. “Look. He left moth dust on my finger.” The minuscule scales refracted the sunlight. “Hope he doesn’t need all his dust to fly. Oops, wait a minute, little fellow!” A bit of wind bore the insect aloft; it fluttered awkwardly to the ground.
        “Good job. He can fly.” She’d rescue baby wildlife for her kids. Like the bunny he stole from his Sheltie. Hopeless. Mostly they died anyway.
        “Not quite. That right front wing is kinked. He’s flying lopsided.” She coaxed the moth onto her finger. “Just a second, little guy.” With the blade tip, she positioned the front wing over the back one at the wing notch. She showed him the moth. “See how the front wings fold over the back wings when he’s at rest?”
        He kept a straight face while he inspected it. “It’s a moth, Kary.”
        “I know. They have such brief lives, it’s a shame to cut them short. And they don’t eat humans.” She scooted the now-reluctant moth onto a leaf. A gust got the moth airborne again; it flitted to a low-hanging branch to perch, glittery wings fluttering in a spot of sun. “Stay away from water, you hear?” She handed him his knife back. “Thank you. It has now saved a life.”
        Did she really care that much? “It’s only a moth, Kary.”
        “Makes up for all the mosquitoes I’ve slaughtered,” she said sensibly.
        “Ye know, ye just performed mouth-to-moth resuscitation.”
        “Aargh! You’re absolutely awful. I rescind my invitation.” She stood, shouldered the pack. “Come on, you need to get going.” He followed her down the mountain…

        Ehrhardt, Alicia Butcher. PRIDE’S CHILDREN: PURGATORY (Book 1 of the Trilogy) . Trilka Press. Kindle Edition.


  2. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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