Monday, September 12, 2011

Dragonflies and 9/11

Early this Sunday afternoon I went for a walk on campus. I went to the top of the hill behind our building and sat on a bench and read for a few minutes as the sun shone down. I put my head down and laid there for a few more minutes, all the while listening to the sounds of nature buzz around me. I sat back up and noticed an aircraft flying overhead. I was reminded that ten years ago in the days following 9/11 I saw and heard no aircraft flying anywhere since they had all been grounded from coast to coast. The sight and sound of an aircraft has become normal again these ten years later. It was an odd feeling to realize that.

I got up from the bench and walked on the grass looking at the dragonflies darting around my feet. These supremely beautiful creatures used to scare me so much as a small child, partly because of their name, and partly because of their fearsome look. But now as I spy them from mere feet or even inches away I notice that these amazingly aerodynamic creatures with their nearly transparent wings flit from blade of grass to blade of grass nibbling away as they survey the vast expanse of a field so seemingly small to me.

I wander towards the edge of the hill to a group of trees and find them clapping their leaves as the breeze flutters through. What they were applauding I don't know, except to say that they seemed happy as the bees and bugs and birds all intertwined in the majesty of nature right before my eyes. A bumblebee, seemingly clumsy, navigated a spiders web and flew effortlessly through an opening in the web from one flower to the next. A nest of wasps or hornets crawled out from under an overhang on a concrete pillar on the hill as they make ready for cooler weather so close at hand.

Each of these beautiful creatures make their way whether as flora, fauna, insect, bird, human, all bound together in a much larger web of intertwined life. The quietness of this respite from the rampant noisiness I far too often give myself over to reminds me that there are sounds and sights that transcend us. But these sights and sounds are also a part of us at our core. The breeze blows and dragonflies take flight from blade of grass to blade of grass and feed on the field before them. As it rested on a blade of grass I could see the blades beneath it through its shimmery wings. I can hear the breeze as well and wonder where it will carry me to next.

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