“Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:
So this winged hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love.”
Dante Gabriel Rossetti The House of Life,’Silent Noon’, pt.1.
Do you ever end up in a place that you didn’t plan to end up in, and the only reason you’re there is because it’s where your feet took you?
I was having a very happy morning, but I was feeling restless, so I got in my car to go to work, knowing that they didn’t expect me there until tomorrow, but feeling like I had to channel my energy into something. When I’m at home, I read, write, draw, or take quiet walks. None of that was going to do today….
… I ended up at the beach watching a dragonfly, realizing very quickly that there was a reason for seeing it even though as I write this I still don’t know what that reason is.
I’m just supposed to share the experience…
As soon as I sat down at the edge of the sand dune I was enveloped by the warming chills of the spirit that help me to recognize a moment of truth. I nearly cried because it was so unexpected. I was so grateful because I need that experience regularly to feel alive and to be reminded of things that matter.
A movement to my left caught my eye. It was a dragonfly – a delicate, skinny, solitary and silent insect going about its life as mine intersected his. I watched and marveled at how easy it would have been to miss him because he didn’t care if I noticed him or not.
The dragonfly flitted from a piece of driftwood saluting the sky to a blade of dead grass balancing upright in the sand. I was amused at his sideways flight and how he kept his nose to the wind as if to keep smelling the ocean.
I understood that one.
That smell always reminds me of home.
As suddenly as he came, he disappeared, flying upwards and blending in with the blue-black of the water, off to do what dragonflies do.
And then it was over. The spirit left and I sat befuddled. The only thing left to do was to head home (my daughter was baffled by that one) and to read up on dragonflies. I did and was led to a poem / story called “The Dragonfly“, author Unknown. (I’ll share it in a minute). As I read I think I began to understand a common thread to my day and what to share. You’ll have to tell me if it’s true for you. As I sit and write, it’s really all I have to offer as I try to connect the dots between early morning reading and later morning doings.
Early this morning I came across a true story of a man working as an indexer of documents related to genealogy (the millions upon millions of documents that still remain unsearchable on the Internet because they need to be transferred to a readable format from film and paper files by volunteers to places on the Web where they are accessible to you and me, mostly for free). Long story short (read it here. on Facebook) he was changed and started seeing the people on the documents as real. He started to feel something for them. The way he interacted with his family changed for the better after his experience.
I was moved by his story because I understood it. I’d experienced it so many times. But every few days I forget about those who have died and have to be reminded that like the dragonfly, they go on living and being whether I notice them or not.
But, unlike the dragonfly, they care.
I know that’s true because my heart tells me they do.
This is not a message, I don’t think, to convince you about the value of family history or getting to know your ancestors.
It’s more like it’s a message of being still and “seeing the silence” around us – that invisible world that goes on imperceptibly day by day, like the dragonfly, nose to the wind, flying sideways and parallel to our life, hoping to remind us of home. You see, to me, it’s all “home”. I just have to quiet down every now and then to remember that there’s a reason we can’t see them. It’s for our benefit and growth.
Life and death are the way that they are to help us to grow in love with the people that become silent and invisible to us. If they were always here, well, how would we try harder to see and to hear them? That’s a pondering for another day.
I’m sure that there are more messages in there somewhere for us to contemplate. Maybe you see one that I need?
For now, that’s it.
Here’s the poem / story that I learned is used as a tool to help people, especially children when they experience a death in the family or community:
there lived a little water beetle in a community of water
beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond
with few disturbances and interruptions.Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of
their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and
would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their
friend was dead, gone forever.
Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge
to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would
not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what
he had found at the top.
When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the
surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so
warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body
changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful
blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body
designed for flying.
So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole
new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never
Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking
by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and
explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been
before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.
But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could
not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he
understood that their time would come, when they, too, would
know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off
into his joyous new life!