March 1, 2006
One sunny afternoon in September I was
hanging out in my back yard doing some reflecting. My dog, Shiva, had
just died and I was having a hard time with that. I had other issues
going on as well. My girlfriend and I had what could only be described
as a "precarious" relationship (That's a whole other story) and I was
starting to rethink my career. As I sat in my folding chair
contemplating the changes I knew I was going to have to make a dragonfly
landed on the clothesline just above me. I stood up and checked him out.
I've always admired the iridescent colors of dragonflies but this one
seemed a little more vibrant. Very distinct against the background of
grape vines and rosebushes. Almost like he was added to the scene as an
afterthought. Remember the scene in Mary Poppins where the guy dances
with the animated penguins? It was kind of like that.
I was probably three feet away and looking directly at him, but he
didn't seem to mind. He knew I wouldn't hurt him. Why would I? The whole
scene had the feel of two strangers standing next to each other at a bus
stop late at night. Both seem like descent guys so there is no need to
be on guard or nervous.
I looked at him for at least a minute, marveling at the tiny details of
his wings and body that I had never taken the time to notice on other
dragonflies. That's when I realized he was smiling. Smiling? Yup,
He had a marking that looked exactly like a painted on grin, teeth and
all, just down below his eyes. It was borderline freaky looking! I mean,
it looked exactly like a smile. If someone had sent me a picture of him
in an email I'd swear it was a doctored photo.
By this point I was getting the funky feeling that I was about to have
one of those transcendental moments you read about in new age philosophy
books. I picked up my hand and held it at eye level to my new dragonfly
buddy. He didn't flinch. I moved it a couple of inches toward him. He
didn't flinch. I moved another couple of inches. He didn't flinch. I
moved it closer still. He flinched a little. After lots more inches on
only a few flinches, my hand was just above his wings. I held it there
for a while and he still didn't seem to mind.
I had to see if I could touch him. I moved my fingers as slow as I could
(not easy as I'm a pretty shaky dude) until they were just barely
touching his wings. I couldn't believe it. He didn't fly away! He even
let me move my hand down his tail. By then I was sufficiently blown
away. I've petted a lot of critters, but a dragonfly? That's messed up.
Eventually I went back to sitting in my chair and the dragonfly went
back to not being bothered. We just sat there and chilled. Like a couple
of buddies enjoying a sunny day and not feeling the need to muck it up
with small talk. When I finally got up to go inside my buddy was still
hanging out on the clothes line. I took a few steps toward my porch and
decided that I should at least say goodbye. I turned around, stepped
back up to the clothesline, waved and said "See ya later little dude."
This is where it gets weird. He waved back! I shit you not; He waved
back. He lifted one tiny dragonfly leg and shook it in the air three
Laugh all you want, but it's true. I'm sure it was a coincidence,
but damn, I wouldn't be surprised if I was wrong.
We finished our goodbyes and I walked back to the house. Just before I
opened my front door a dragonfly buzzed in front of my eyes and flew off
into a ray of sun.
Two weeks later I left my job, broke things off with my girlfriend and
headed to Maine. Ever since I've noticed dragonflies popping up almost
daily. In a knick knack shop, as a logo on a website, on the back of a
plate, as a lawn decoration and occasionally in real life.
Six months later someone tells me that the dragonfly is a symbol for
transformation and rebirth.
That it's my totem.