Every year, at this time, she shows up. Right on schedule. Just the one annual appearance. She explores all the wires and connections in my office and then marches all over the keyboard and screen of my computer. And leaves for another year.
She has no passport, no ID to show me her age.
Research discloses this:
Ladybird Life Cycle
Most Ladybirds mate in the spring or summer and the female lays a cluster of eggs (numbering from a few to a few hundred, depending on species) as near as possible to an aphid colony. In most species of ladybird these eggs hatch into a larval state within a week. This state lasts 10 - 15 days, and they then go into a pupal stage before becoming an adult ladybird. The entire life cycle of the ladybird is only 4 - 7 weeks.
Ladybirds lay extra infertile eggs with the fertile eggs. These appear to provide a backup food source for the larvae when they hatch. The ratio of infertile to fertile eggs increases with scarcity of food at the time of egg laying.
Like all insects, the ladybird is no different in that it undergoes complete metamorphosis through its life cycle.
It's weird - this single annual visitation. Perhaps it is cellular memory for my little tourist. Considering her life cycle is supposedly 7 weeks max, she must be the descendant of the original visitor many life cycles ago.
But I choose to think she is this anomaly. She lives eternally in her secret space and emerges, just to check up on me, when her calendar clicks over to February.
I think of her as my good luck charm. My harbinger of good fortune. My personal guarantee that Mistress Spring and I will connect. One more time.