Already the heat is creeping up through the air, descending down through the constant hum of cicadas surging and retreating, surging and retreating.
This morning I was cleaning the bathroom, moving things that had been piled up in gardening projects and house renovations and I saw the body of a dragonfly that had come to visit me in my bedroom just as I’d been thinking about the dragonfly ink on my back.
I picked it up with a little bit of terror running through my spirit, a familiar and dark voice whispering, “What have you done? What does this mean?” Because I felt responsible for its death; it had come into my room on a particularly hot day to bless me with reassurance and then it had zoomed into the bathroom, buzzing and banging up against things. I went after it to try to help it find its way out but I stepped into the room filled with things to be cleaned and sorted and finished and claimed and the dragonfly was nowhere to be found.
I’m sure from that point I was carried away by the heat, the ratcheting call of insects, the welcoming of guests and the doing of chores, but this morning there it was…lying on the shower floor, my dragonfly, both of its wings folded upwards, like petals lifting toward the sun, a perfect symmetry in its body. I picked it up and put it on my jewelry box next to the computer, a small bottle of face oil, and a container of Vapo-rub.
I bent over to look at it closely, the iridescence of its insect scales, the delicate beauty of its wings, and the shiver of terror re-translated itself, it twisted and released itself into a rising up, an effervescence of what I’m learning to name as:
I am learning to breathe it in and breathe it out, until the terror of all this beauty remembers itself as awe, as creation, as the imprint of a living God.
So now I see the gift the dragonfly has given me in death; the way its wings are lifted in a celebration. It could have left its body in so many ways and I could have translated the moment, the meaning, the feelings in so many ways, but here we are; the cicadas singing, the heat shifting with a cool breeze, my children calling out in the next room…
and me, breathing it all into my body and letting it fill me until I can hold no more and then I exhale:
Thank you, God