Thursday, August 04, 2005


I sit in a parade chair and watch dragonflies strafe the campsite. They gobble deerflies, horseflies, stable flies and mosquitoes. Biting insects are abundant here, so I am pleased to host the dragonflies. Relaxing, my hands fall naturally into a muhdra and a dragonfly lights on the thumb of my left hand. The camera in my pocket is useless since I'd have to move to slide it out. Instead I sit still until a deerfly approaches and the dragonfly attacks.

Yesterday, a dragonfly and grabbed, one after another, both a deerfly and a mosquito buzzing at my ear. I dove into the tent at one point, pursued by a swarm of deerflies, and a dragonfly cleaned up the swarm hovering around the door.

This reminded me of an incident at Three Rivers when I sat writing on Lycopodium Knoll. The deer flies began whirling around me until I thought I'd have to leave. A huge dragonfly arrived, circled around grabbing the deerflies, and then landed on my knee. It sat there off and on for an hour. Every time a deer fly or mosquito showed up, the dragon fly zipped out, seized it, returned to my knee an gobbled it down.

It was a wonderful symbiosis. If only we could have them as pets or comrades. They would make our lives more comfortable and we would provide them with food. I delight in the image of dragonflies following like a goat on a hike, clearing the bugs from our path through the forest.

Mary Stebbins, Bastille Day, 2005

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