Press-Republican

Columns

June 10, 2012

Love for dragonflies keeps growing

My mother called them Devil’s Darning Needles. She convinced me that if I uttered bad words, they would come into my bedroom at night and sew my lips together. I made sure my window was closed and tried hard to use kinder thoughts and words. Sometimes it actually worked.

There were also legends about the dangers of sleepinwg outside and having these four-winged creatures sew our eyes shut. It never deterred us from “camping out” in the backyard.

As I grew older, my opinion of the wonderful insects we know as dragonflies turned completely around, and I now relish them as beneficent and friendly — even magical. I’ve written about them previously, but I do so again with even greater admiration.

If you were to visit our home, you would see many items on the walls, hanging from the ceiling and in photo albums that reference the dragonfly. Kaye and I cherish them and flutter inside when one lands on a shoulder or sidewalk.

We have an artist friend in Georgia who used her Native American wisdom to “read” Kaye’s personality and future. She concluded that Kaye should forever be known as “Dragonfly” and still calls her by that name.

There are dragonflies throughout a local beauty shop we visit and the owner — like us — is a huge fan.

We had never seen dragonflies in large numbers before Memorial Day weekend while we camped at Cole’s Creek on the St. Lawrence River. When I say they came in like the biblical plague of locusts, I don’t exaggerate. As we set up the camper, they arrived like Ezekiel and his windstorm. There were thousands all around us. For me, it was like nirvana.

I watched other camping families and noticed some were terrified. I wanted to rush about telling them that dragonflies are harmless to humans, but I just stood there mesmerized. Those who know me best have learned that I am curious, if nothing else. I have a burning desire to “know,” and that pursuit has sometimes caused me problems. Another of my mother’s many admonitions was “Curiosity killed the cat.”

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