Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dragonfly Summer

   We have some dragonflies at the farm.  I mean, we have a couple of hundred dragonflies at the farm.  At any given moment, but especially around sunrise and again at dusk, I can walk around and be buzzed and surrounded by every size and color of this fascinating, elusive little flying creature.

   Thousands of cobalt blue, red, emerald green, gold, black and white, you name it.  They are plentiful and graceful.

   In fact, just now I walked inside from counting three million dragonflies hovering over the middle field fences, and they were each a different color.  They were back-lit by the warm Oklahoma sunset, and they shrouded everything in effervescence.

   This many dragonflies is a big deal.

  Years ago Handsome and I spent a little energy immersing ourselves in Native American culture, and a lot of it has stayed with with me.  The traditions and folklore are just so beautiful and so respectful of nature.  I have found very little that conflicts with the Bible path.  In fact, what I have learned just reinforces everything I believe about God.

   Why do I feel such a need to justify my explorations?  Huh.

   Included in Native American culture is the tradition of observing your personal totems.  Curious?  Totems are animal identities that are supposed to be able to tell you about your personal strengths and weaknesses, your path in life, and your magic.

   Yeah, I said magic.  But don't worry.  I'm not gonna cast a dragonfly spell or anything.  It's fine.

   More than fortune telling, although I definitely see the parallel, animal totems offer us two-legged creatures a really interesting kinship with the animal in question.  We get to learn about that animal's character and how it interacts with its environment and the universe at large.  If we're sensitive and pliable enough, we can gradually learn how to apply that wisdom to our own lives.  God, the Creator, Jesus, however you identify Him if you do, created everything we're discussing here, and I believe He has volumes of love and lessons to share in the relationships we forge with animals.

  Note:  Ideally, a person seeking his totem observes what animals are drawn to him, not just the animals to which he is drawn.  Otherwise my totem C-O-U-L-D be a monkey.  Which W-O-U-L-D be awesome.

  Also, a totem is not the group of animals that is captured and dependent on the human..  For people like Handsome and me who have purposefully acquired a variety of pets, deciphering between a possible totem and, like, normal daily animal traffic can be tricky.  I mean, we can't really claim that our totem is a blue and gold Macaw when said bird is kept on a perch in the living room and is not exactly free to leave and return.

   Although I do think Pacino loves us enough to fly home should something terrible ever cause him to be lost.

   All of this is much different than the Chinese Zodiac, which installs into a person's life the supposed and abbreviated traits of just one animal based on just the year the person is born.  I cannot get a groove on that at all.  Human beings are wonderfully complex, and my personal slant is that one animal could never fully illustrate one person.  But a collection of animals might make a dent, and so we have the Totem Pole.

   Anyway, the purpose of totem exploration is more of a self-discovery exercise, coupled with a deepening of your reverence for the animal kingdom.  The point is not to take another person's declaration over your spirit as fact; the point is to sense for yourself what you believe to be true and what you can learn from the raw nature of another living creature.  Dive greedily into the many layers of all of God's wonderful creation, all of these reflections of Him and His love and power.

   When I noticed that I could walk around the farm, all alone, and be surrounded on every side by dragonflies, I did a little reading.  Turns out its extreme sensitivity to subtle changes in the wind makes it more able to avoid storms and survive.    I cannot predict the future but have always had a good sense of brewing trouble or of difficult to describe danger.  The dragonfly is drawn to the water and mates there.  Ahem.  Let's just say I love the water.   The image of the dragonfly is generally known to evoke dreaminess and imagination.  It is an emotional totem.  No mystery there, that I live in a bit of a dream world most of the time and am extremely emotional  Guess who will verify that for you.  His name rhymes with ransom.  

    In taking this deeper look, I remember times when I did not listen to that silent warning voice and suffered for it.  Or my loved ones suffered for it when I leaned on reason more than instinct.  So I shake off the weight of logic and process and instead try to hone that needed ear.

  Watching the path and pattern of the dragonfly, I realize that its lilting unpredictability is what makes it so  mesmerizing and effective.  It surely has purposes to fill and needs to meet but does so without rigidity.  It manages to trade a bit of structure for spontaneous movement and thereby accomplishes more than just living; it dances.  It glides around breezes and knows when to escape.

   A good warning is that dragonflies tend to drown in the water, the same element that gives them life.

   The incredible spectrum seen in these dragonfly swarms brings to mind a word close my heart:  Diversity.  I am reminded in them that beauty and vitality come in many forms and that they do not have to compete.  Instead, they complement each other.  They build a dazzling view and seem to rarely repeat.  This is my circle of friends.  This is the perfect aesthetic for life, allowing for color, texture, sensual living, and adventure.

   If wild monkeys start showing up at the farm, I'll be sure to let you know what I am learning from them.  For now, this is a belly full of wisdom to digest.  What animals are drawn to you?  What can you learn from them?




1 comment:

  1. i feel that my girl's 'totem' or whatever, is the dragonfly. just a sense. i've never looked up the meaning, i tend to shy from prescribed meanings and just go with intuition.

    how glorious to have so many at the farm! i rarely see them here. magical when i do.


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