Aug 3


Photo 228Growing up, my grandparents had a cabin in the woods that sat right at the edge of the Loyalsock River in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Me and my family would spend a week there, splashing in the creek, floating along the current, searching for fossils or frogs, playing badmitton and crochet in the yard. Sometimes, when evening fell on the pines we’d all scatter and play “kick the can” our squeals and laughter ringing through the woods. Then we’d settle by the fire and play cards or play with the miniature iron stove until it was bedtime and we’d creep up the creaky stairs and settle into beds under heavy quilts. It was always magic at the cabin.

One summer when my sisters and I were down at the beach swimming in the cold water and attempting to catch frogs, I spied a dragonfly helpless on top of the water. He’d flown too close to the water, I supposed, and he lay helpless on top of the current, his wings soaked through.

Of course I didn’t hesitate in saving him, scooping him out of the water onto my finger. I remember his wings were limp and he didn’t move. Was he dead?

No, that thought was too scary.

I kept holding him and slowly he dried off, adjusting his wings, turning his head, moving his tickly feet on my skin. The rest of that day I carried him around on my finger. He never tried to fly away…just sat on my finger or arm watching, occasionally fluttering his wings a little bit.

I wonder what he thought of me. If he thought I was as wonderful as I thought he was. That I was as magical and wild as he was to me.

The afternoon fell away to evening and my MomMom made him a little place to live in with dirt, sticks, some flowers, and some rocks–a MomMom always knows just what a pet dragonfly could want. Reluctantly, I set him inside and let him walk around though I was terrified he’d fly away.

I knew somehow that he didn’t belong to me, though I didn’t admit it at the time.

I was away from him only long enough to swallow down my dinner as fast as I could. Then I stuck my finger inside the small tank and he crawled up on my finger once more to my intense delight.

He hadn’t flown away! He wanted me just as much as I wanted him.

And then, maybe it was a half-hour later, maybe it was just a minute or two. But slowly, he lifted his wings and fluttered off. I remember watching him and then chasing him…wanting him to come back so desperately.

Knowing my sensitive heart, I probably cried, though I can’t remember if I did.

But he didn’t belong to me just as nothing wild can ever really belong to us. But still, I was lucky. I had a pet dragonfly for an afternoon that I truly loved.

And now every time I see one, I can’t help but feel like I was eight years old again.

Eight years old and wanting to hold something wild again.

2 Responses to “Dragonflies”

  • Wendy says:

    When we were at the cabin last week we were talking about that day and how it was amazing that the dragonfly just sat on your finger all day.

  • Suzanne Brown says:

    I LOVE that story and remember it always.

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