The Dragonfly

The house where we stayed had a beautiful skylight, a rectangle cut into the deep, high ceiling.

The last night we were there, before we went to bed, a dragonfly, out of awe of my partner, managed to squeeze herself through the sliding door and an insect screen. From the darkness outside, we heard a crispy sound. And then here she was, the glittery transparent wings embracing the light in the room.

We ran around the room, trying to catch and take the dragonfly out. “Hello Dragonfly, go outside. Here in this house, there is none of what you’d call your food. We are leaving tomorrow morning. We don’t know what to feed you.”

We couldn’t catch the winged being. We went to bed.

The next day was another bright, sunny summer day. We were all packed and ready to go. I heard a crispy sound above. And I looked up. Last night’s dragonfly was still in the house. She was now trying to get out through the skylight. The beautiful blue sky was calling. But the dragonfly didn’t have the concept of glass.

She tried and tried and tried. I wondered how she could come through a sliding door and a screen but not through a glass window.

The ceiling was high and deep. I couldn’t reach it.

I opened the front door wide.

Freedom was so close, but the dragonfly was oblivious to the real one. The blue sky was real for her, and it seemed to be closer. She just needed to try harder.

Exhausted, she rested on a wall close to the ceiling.

I heard people say we need to think visually to communicate with creatures. So, I visualized the dragonfly’s wings, finding the way down the deep ceiling of the skylight and following the fresh air through the door. The world out there was waiting for her.

The dragonfly remained still.

I finally found a pole to poke the dragonfly. After being disturbed, she should abandon this area and by leaving where she was, she would have a chance to find the open door.

The dragonfly was indeed disturbed. But instead of leaving the area, she started once again, banging her wings on the glass ceiling, again and again. The body was communicating what her eyes couldn’t see, but the mind didn’t comprehend all of that.

Or was it that my mind was thinking too much?

The freedom door was so close, and it was wide open. It would be so easy to fly through the door. Nothing would keep the dragonfly from it.

But the dragonfly was not taking the easy way.

She kept trying and trying on what was doomed to fail, just because she could SEE the blue sky.

I used a flashlight to lure her, but the beam of the flashlight disappeared into the bright sunlight.

It was time for us to leave. We’d have to lock the doors and windows. It would be days before anyone would open the door again. The dragonfly would be starved to death.

  • Please dragonfly, stop doing what’s not working.
  • Please dragonfly, step back. Sometimes, that’s the only way to move forward.

Dragonfly continued the only thing she was doing – because the blue sky was so real to her.

I sighed. And locked the door.


Kemila Zsange with a dragonfly on her hat

This morning, I found this piece I wrote in 2017 and decided to use it for this month’s blog post. I’m currently travelling in the Netherlands. I left the draft of this blog post on my computer screen and headed for Hilversum, today’s agenda. The moment I pulled my phone out to take a picture in the beautiful purple flower field, a dragonfly landed on my phone. I could not take a picture of my phone with a dragonfly on it when I needed it to take a picture. I called my partner. By the time he came, the dragonfly flew away. I sighed, but my partner asked me not to move. The cute dragonfly just flew up and landed on top of my hat. How synchronistic!

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