Into the Sun and Out

On a walk earlier this week I came across two groups of dragonflies. The first was near a shaded pond, on the grounds of an elementary school.

Dragonflies always remind me of my father. While he lay dying, the hospital parking lot was filled with what seemed like hundreds of dragonflies. Now when I see a dragonfly, I always feel that is it a messenger, a sign that my father is near.

When I think about dragonflies, I remember that my great-grandmother’s broach was a dragonfly. I do not know its story but I know she wore that pin every day. When we were small, she would pretend that the dragonfly could “bite.” We would advance a nervous finger, she would hide a smile as she covertly aimed the sharp end of the stickpin. At her unexpected jump forward, we would all dissolve into complicit giggles, a rare moment of connection with this woman from a different time.

What I have loved about dragonflies is their iridescence, the veins of black in the transparent, barely-there double wings. Just recently I read that some Native Americans consider the dragonfly a sign of renewal after a period of great hardship. A rainbow that flies.

The second group of dragonflies hovered high above a sun-dappled street. I stop to count. Five, no, six. I stand for a long time, watching.

They dart into the sun and out.

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