Monday was partially overcast, seventy-three, and clearly a typical day here in the heartland. Maybe it was a lazy day, in that I found myself dozing off, but I am supposed to be retired and this, only a few years ago, would be great day to work outdoors. Still in a walk-about-the-grounds, early-morning state of mind, a ruckus broke out among the party about to go shopping. There on the handle of the car was a giant dragonfly in repose, motionless, wrapped in a brief bit of morning sunlight.
Its wings were spread-out sheets of gossamer so thin the shining door handle shown through as if the wings were made of the clearest piece of thin glass. The wings like all wings, man-made or otherwise, had veins running through them in an organized fashion obviously put there for strength by the head engineer.
The thorax was a color of green so profound that Prada, my clothes maker, would have died to put that into a Paris garment fit only for the beautiful people, the ones so hung on self-aggrandizement that they almost fall over themselves. We had that color, right here latched firmly to our door handle. The shopping adventure had to wait as all individuals who could be summoned, gathered around and marveled at the insect so intricate, so delicate that there seemed no reason for the accumulation of such beauty.
For a brief moment I worried, it had attached itself there and then exhausted, died for there was no visible motion. At the same time, the insect was completely void of any signs of wear. It was pristine.
Having been a beekeeper it didn’t take long to learn back then, insects are no different than we humans, and worker bees wear out. I remember seeing bees In their age, struggle back to the hive for that one last flight and then die on the entrance. Some worker bees could be found in the field, clinging to the flowers, motionless and dead, worn out from a life of toil. Had this beauty done the same after weeks of eating mosquitos? Not likely as there was not a single indication of doing a day’s work. It was new to this world.
Inquisitively, I placed my figure in front of the dragonfly and it slowly but deliberately, walked on to my finger to take a new position, still almost motionless and not seeming intent on flying away. It posed for the camera moving slightly from side to side much like the skinny Paris models but not arrogantly lifting its head in an ever-so-glamourous posture.
Then in a moment as we all pushed forward for a closer examination, the bedazzled bug took wing as if a jump jet and flew to a distant bush. Everyone looked at each other as if to say, “What was that? “
With little research, our visitor proved to be a Common Green Darner and was a juvenile, meaning it was fresh out the pupal stage and probably just hanging out waiting to be an adult thereby avoiding all that immaturity and hormonal changes that go along with our species. The plan of attaching to an automobile door latch as a way of going through its entire juvenile period seems pure genius from my point of view—- and probably some educators in the junior-high system. Even when slightly prodded, the dragonfly was cool, calm and collected. A little reading also made mention of the fact this dragonfly will now change colors much like a modern day youth going from a tightly cut hair style to a purple Mohawk.
In my perusal, it turned out there is also a Dragon Fly Society, meaning there are organizations that do little other than exploring the beauty, behavior and life of Damselflies and Dragonflies. This species has a wondrous variety and diversity. It seems, each one of these jewels has its own glory and a long history of eating other insects—and yes, many of the prey have the ability to drain my blood.
So, while we cheered the grace and beauty of the Darner, and were even willing to compare it to any of the posing models in Vanity Fair, none of the human “beauties” consumed mosquitoes like the delicate, gorgeous but very predatory Dragonfly. Such a service they provide.