A couple years ago, I woke early one morning and took my dogs for a walk.
Crossing a wet soccer field nearby, I happened to look down and was surprised to see a perfectly still dragonfly, its wings glistening with dew. Fearing it would get trampled if it stayed there too long, I gingerly lifted and set it on my hand in hopes the sun would dry its wings enough to fly again.
We walked around that way for nearly 30 minutes, me catching the aurora colors of its transparent wings wing as the sun warmed them, the dragonfly maintaining perfect stillness.
And then it quivered. It walked around my hand for a moment, and flew away.
I'd never held a live dragonfly before then, much less been a morning perch for one.
The moment was exquisitely beautiful and fleeting. It's possible it had just been born. Is it possible we both had?
By Chris Heeter
August 19, 2009
Dragonflies don't begin with wings.
They begin underwater
on the bottom
in the sand or mud or rocks.
Eating most everything that fits in their mouths.
The larvae eat and grow
until some instinct tells them to climb through that ceiling of water;
break the surface onto a blade of grass or a rock;
and to hold still.
To dry up, let their backs split open, and emerge.
From a water being to a sky being.
Swooping, hovering, diving.
Radiant in sunlight,
translucent wings, multi-faceted eyes, bright brilliant colors.
In truth, we all have wings.
And we all call crawl through the muck at the bottom.
The journey comes in believing there is life above what we can see.
And the trust of holding still, even feeling split open
in order to try our wings.
Chris Heeter, a wilderness guide, poet, speaker, and life coach, runs The Wild Institute .
Image by audreyjm529