Capturing Imagination

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

This morning, I downloaded pictures from my cell phone. Browsing through the recent photos and coming across this astonishing image, I wondered what had caused me to photograph the sky above an Old Navy store? The clouds aren’t pretty or somehow interesting; the building wasn’t of interest as it barely shows; and anyway, who knows where I had been physically while taking the picture. After moments of study, I spotted the dragonfly.

One afternoon upon finishing work and putting something into the front passenger seat of my car, I noticed a dragonfly just above the car’s antenna, hovering and then dropping to perch on its tip. The creature had to work to stabilize itself–a glittering force, beautiful and fascinating atop its tiny support. The instant my camera clicked, the dragonfly took off and flew straight upward, before circling just above the antenna and then leaving completely.

My mind’s eye visualized the bright fluttering for some moments while I pulled from the parking space, and then, forgot all about it. Right now, there’s something lovely about recalling that entire event, remembering in all its glory the dragonfly’s lightness and action.

Soon after retiring to Central Oregon years ago, I happened to visit the home of a woman whose house contained multiple dragonfly images from the real to the abstract. Her garden was full of dragonfly charms and statues. I’d never seen anything like this and wondered why she had such an interest in these creatures. She asserted that dragonflies bring luck, explaining that she’s a strong believer. I walked away and thought about this, over time noticing a gradual increase of my own interest in the creatures.

To me they’ve become eye-catchers, dazzling in flight, hovering over, or perched on an object. Shiny, iridescent, quick and lighter than air. Maybe as the lady said, they bring good luck, but to me they represent happiness, and oddly, even hope. Maybe its because they’ve lived since time immemorial. Fossils of dragonfly ancestors have been dated back 325 million years. Modern dragonflies are evolved from the largest insects ever recorded. In pre-ancient times those had wingspans of up to 30 inches. If only I could have seen them!

Observing today’s dragonflies is a joy–and speaking of luck, fortunately the species still survives despite the worldwide loss of wetlands habitat that threatens them. On the heels of that lady who pointed out some of their unique characteristics, I now consider installing similar art in tribute to them.

Dear Friends: It’s much about the power of photos to reinvigorate imagination. Diana

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