I saved a dragonfly today.
Walking, head down. Warm sun on the back of my neck, long autumn shadows spilling out in front of me.
Long autumn shadows spill over a fragile web, spun amidst the branches of a shrub.
Frantic motion caught my eye.
Quietly, deliberately, I changed course and approached, head cocked, ears perked. My mind slowed and readied to pick-up a new experience before it drove on.
Darwin’s heart, un-moved in me, watched.
Brilliant blue, and larger than “bugs” should be (in my world at least), she struggled in the web. “Any second”, thought I, “she will be free.” No mere silk could restrain such a fierce life for long.
Yet she struggled still.
If lungs she had, they would burst with each renewed effort, so great was her fight, so fierce was she.
The sleepy, low buzz of the wings fill my ears, but a seizure of panicked awareness fills my vision.
And now I was caught.
Closer still, I moved. The sticky, silky strands of the drama reached out and ensnared me.
So, trapped with her now, I could see not just blue was she, but green and red and a rainbow of beauty.
Her beauty stirred inside me.
Darwin’s heart skipped a beat upon the sight of the common, brown eight legged architect of her prison.
“Impossible!” thought I, “Less than half her size, and a billion years of hunting wisdom; it will retreat.”
Retreat it did, for a spell.
At the peak of her struggles it withdrew, clinging to the security of the branches. Eight legged coward.
While she lie still, down it’s sticky contraption it scurried. Darwin’s heart resting calm within it.
Yes, a common heart we share.
That thing which pumps fluid, which drags oxygen in and debris back out again, that lump of tissue.
But she….SHE is not simply alive. She LIVES!
From a spectator’s dream I awaken:
The architect leaps suddenly. A gambit! Down it rushes, Darwin’s cold heart pumping faster in support.
Just as it’s legs touch her wing for the first time, as she strains to withdraw, Darwin’s heart in me breaks.
“Not today!” aloud I cry.
My sword drawn from it’s place, without thought, flashes through the long autumn shadows.
Sting lands it’s blows at the base of the web, it cuts through the space between it and her, breaking the bonds.
Only She remains. Clinging to the sword.
She clings to the sword. All of her legs wrapped around it, I draw her from the web and whisper, “Not today.” Something more than Darwin’s heart stirs in my chest.
A tattered wing trembles in the breeze.
Three delicate, vibrant wings pulse at her back, but the fourth betrays her otherwise perfect flight.
She let’s go, struggles and falls to the ground. I extend the sword and she tries to flee. But finally relents.
The safety of the shore is near.
Unable to hold on any longer, she falls away again. I cup my hands around her, making a safe niche.
Perhaps it feels too much like a web to her, and her wings beat violently against my hands.
Away to the shore we go.
Flashes of iridescent blue, I see in the gaps between my fingers – 3 and half wings speak with their power: “DON’T CRUSH ME! I’M ALIVE!” I am thrilled, moved and made alive myself by the life I gently hold.
My hands open.
Oh JOY!! She pauses. Clings to me for a moment. She beats her wings. She explores my hand-scape.
I brush her against a nearby stalk, and she steps to it like a dancer steps from a slow-moving street car.
Darwin’s heart wonders if she will fly.
Sam’s heart simply wonders.