The Dragonfly

reddirtlattes/ September 13, 2019/ Gulf Islands, Canada/ 5 comments


We didn’t expect to find it, so late in summer, with fall only some wind gusts away. My son caught it, called us over.

We didn’t expect to find a dragonfly hanging from its own death. We didn’t expect to see a dragonfly the moment it was born.

Its head seemed still attached to what it had once been. So slight one could almost imagine them already separate.

It was still attached or else its new head was resting against what once encased its old one. It may have been a thread. It may have been some sticky substance. I like to think it was a goodbye.

At first we weren’t sure it wasn’t dead. My son thought it lifeless as we stared for so long and nothing moved, its body as still as the grass it hung from.

We laughed and thought how funny for us to be sitting here staring at a dead dragonfly for such a very long time.

We laughed, and then it moved. Twitched its head. I could see it. I watched it. Life was coming into it. This brand new being.

I couldn’t move. I wouldn’t move. We were watching a dragonfly be born and I would witness its first flight.

We waited and we watched. There was talk again of perhaps it really was dead and then it would twitch and silence us.

Slowly its wings which were bound together as one began to part. Only slightly so that we weren’t quite sure, but yes, they seemed a bit different than one minute ago.

Another twitch.

More waiting.

The wings suddenly opened.

And then more stillness.

My son started to get restless and walked to the other side of the puddle. My daughter stayed with me but her eyes moved to distance cries in the sky.

For me, I would not look away. I had to see this dragonfly be born. I could not bear to think I would miss its embodiment the moment we walked away.

Liquid dripped down its long body. Small round drops the size of a child’s tear fell from its tail to the mud below. It must have been some sort of liquid from the metamorphosis but it looked like a baptism to me.

The kids are tired and the sun is hot. We’ve been waiting and watching and their restlessness is wrapping me up in it. Just as I think we will have to stand and go, it moves. Its head moves from side to side. The whole dragonfly starts to shake and its head lifts and its wings move and I realize this is it, that it is about to take fight and I catch my scream in my throat as it lifts off and flies.
We watch it swoop and zag, and then disappear.


Today we went back.

We walked back to the puddle that was our pond before the rains stopped. The exoskeleton was still there, hanging from the blade of grass. I gently tore the blade and walked it back to our car.

We will keep it. It will remind us of the day we watched a dragonfly become.

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  1. … wonderful words …

  2. Hi Sabrina. It has been a long time. This is my second attempt to post this; I am a little rusty. I have been following you since you began blogging again while meaning to write. But something always seemed to get in the way; Much to write about the cockamanie state of this country. Being a political and behavioral scientist, I have struck a gold mine with things to say and analyze, share with friends, present papers at professional conferences, being interviewed on public radio out of New York (interesting, the interview was over long distance via telephone). When what I call “Trumpgate” is all over, and it will be sometime, I will begin to take all my papers (about 13 so far) and will try to figure out how to best put the collection into book form on a subject drowning in books coming out every month. Fortuitously, is not the same old, same old, and really contributes to the academic discussion. From feedback I get from former colleagues, now older farts like me, friends, and audiences, I do have have different perspectives and analysis from the more conventional conventional published works to share and hopefully will enlighten. Most of the authors so far are well-known and very good reporters. But they write from a repertorial perspective and my writings are from a more analytical and academic one.

    This is challenging since there are no precedents to draw upon, I draw upon experiential wisdom, creativity, knowledge, and ability to see things that others who wallow in conventionality, lack the depth of analytical and insightfulness in applying to understanding of a larger and future context. Most importantly, they lack the courage to stray from conventionality and the the expected in understanding the everyday unexpected that has come from our leadership. This has infected much of our whole society in ways I have never experienced or read about before.

    It is a challenge, but one I delight taking on, that affords me the opportunity to dig deep into the depths of my mind and intuitive centers of the brain as well as my lifelong experiences. The hardest part is to keep in check my intense emotional self and welled up anger. I sometimes envision my being on cable television and would have to civilize my language and keep my anger in check. This has been an invigorating experience allowing me remain relevant as my life gradually draws down. Sometimes, I wonder if this burst of creativity and scholarship is meant to assuage my ego, leave something important behind, or continue in my lifelong teaching particularly to my children and grandchildren.

    I am most proud of, when I began studying and writing about Donald Trump over two years ago, I wrote a psychiatric case study of Trump, that I have used as a basis for predicting his behavioral tendencies throughout his presidency. I have kept a rather loose talley of my correct predictions and have been astonishingly but not absolutely correct. Last year, a group of 27 psychiatrists wrote a book in which they validated my diagnosis of Trump having a rare ( only one per cent of the clinical population) most severe form along a spectrum of his mental disorder. Natch.

    But alas, enough about what I have been doing other than getting older and learning so much about medicine with me acting as the guinea pig. I want to make a comment about the grasshopper’s metamorphosis. But first, let me interject (the relevance will shortly be made clear) one of life’s greatest experiences that occurred to me this past year. I have three grandchildren, the oldest who is nineteen and the youngest is thirteen months old. My oldest flew in from Colorado to visit us and hopefully be present at the birth of his cousin. I am full of delight and pride looking at a photo of him cradling in his arms and staring at my youngest, Dax. It is almost surreal. It has added immense meaning and pleasure to my wife’s and my life.

    As for observing the metamorphosis of the grasshopper, the most profound and heartening pleasure a human can have, as you surely are becoming aware, is to see the nurturing and metamorphosis , so to speak, of a human infant growing being transformed into a full-grown young adult striking out on their own to make their unique mark and contribution to this little blue spec rotating in the vastness of the cosmos. And so, you and your two children observing the metamorphosis of this little grasshopper have travelled on your own journey through the whole panoply of the existence of life. Life, death, birth, then death again. Someday I hope your kids can fill in the dots between this cycle to make better sense of it all.

    Take care, Sabrina. Good to see you continuing on your journey full of insights to the world that your are increasingly occupying and in the process, you are always making new insights of and in yourself. I will try to me a more active participant on the blog. Fondly, Seymour Schwartz

  3. Appreciate this so much. Thank you for how you look at the world and how you write about it.

  4. That was a real nice reflection; far from the world of fabricated chaos and minds.

    When I was little dreams in my mothers eye, we would walk along the stoned streets together. Stopping about the world and its quirks, its moments like the first bee sting, or watching a bird hatch. To blowing on a spiders nest and watching the little ‘ins scurry along the webbing… These are things to remind us of who we are, a fleeting thing, perhaps love is a thing we should always remember. I think its really a philosopher that watches and looks upon the world that brings us to these inner depths of understanding, who we are and.. sometimes our sheer ignorance.

    Good stuff.

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