Monday, July 7, 2008

Did you ever stare a dragonfly right in the eye?

This morning I saw a lot of dragonflies flying about the shrubs around the old Tugboat Bay; there have also been a lot of dragonflies visiting my yard this summer. This could be in part because there are a lot of mosquitoes around now because of the frequent rains we had this spring. This dragonfly stopped on the threshold of my back door this morning. It was undisturbed by the opening and closing of the door. Dragonfly medicine speaks of transformation, of change, of new insights, of new ways of being. The dragonfly visit today reminded me of a story I once wrote for my young nephews in Toronto, Kai and Axel. I called it

Did you ever stare a dragonfly right in the eye?

Well, I did.

It happened like this:

My angel helper flew out of the blue one morning and then mysteriously disappeared. Her presence by my left shoulder, just above my heart, was puzzling. Why did she fly to me? Did she have a message for me? Her blue was an iridescent ringing that filled my senses, like the whole sky had just swooped down and squeezed inside my head.

It was an ordinary morning. Just another ordinary day of sweeping the floor and wiping crumbs from the kitchen table, taking the green tea leaves from my morning cup of tea and giving them to the baby rubber plant. A day of wiping down the stove from last night’s turmeric, olive oil, and tomato splishes and splashes. A day of clattering clean plates and cups out of the dishwasher and into the cupboard. A day of clattering dirty plates and cups back into the dishwasher.

It was the rag rug that signaled that the mystery was near. The matto, the rag rug, that Marja Leena’s mother had made so many years ago with fabric bands of old slacks, skirts, shirts, and a dress or two that used to be for Sunday. I rolled up that blue and pink and white and brown and red and black and blue matto, and as soon as I stepped out onto the front steps to shake it out

not a fleeting moment later

as soon as I stepped out of the porch and onto the top of the stairs and into the morning sun

that’s when she spied me, my angel helper in blue. She came right to me, from across the yard. From behind the blue spruce, her large, luminous unblinking blue-black eyes sped towards me. We caught each other's eyes, Ms. Dragonfly and I. Eye to eye.

She perched on me just below my left shoulder, right above my heart. I looked down into her inky blue eyes; she looked up into my blue ones. We stared at each other for what seemed like a long time, like waiting for your dad to come home when you are little.

Her wings were outstretched, etched with ancient veins. She was see-through, but she was also blue. Translucent blue like the sky reflected in the dark waters of a small, forest creek.

Then suddenly, to signal the end of our morning heart-to-heart chance serenade, she simply flew off as abruptly as she came. She flew to the north, of that I am sure.


marja-leena said...

A delightful story! And I like to think of being that Marja-Leena for my mother wove many mattos from old clothes too! I miss the dragonflies of my youth in Manitoba, for here they are infrequent with our low mosquito population, I guess.

Baker Watson said...

'Her wings were outstretched, etched with ancient veins.'

What a great description. And what a great little story to capture a fleeting moment.

I love the ending. She flew out of your life as fast as she flew in. BUT, she's out there somewhere. She's just a little north of here.

guyser said...

Dragonflies have a way of showing up - the are not shy nor do they seem to be afraid - but like most wild creatures the act on their own time. i have a pond where they circulate. they seem to patrol the pond and occasionally they will land on me or visit. They are a bit scary looking,
but it is fun imagining how they see the world.

northshorewoman said...

my friend Marja Leena is a joy of a woman -- maybe it goes with the name? I'm not sure if this is a common name anymore in Finnish or if it was part of the 1940s generation of baby girls?

Dragonflies are amazingly beautiful flying insects; their very name seems to evoke some ancient mythological being. I've always been fascinated by their wings, which are at once so fragile in appearance, but oh so durable in practice.

And it is true that they are not shy; like the American redstart that visited my yard earlier this spring, it seems to not mind humans around -- unlike blue herons.