Chasing dragonflies

A dragonfly accepts it’s brevity of life
With its gossamer wings feeling the breeze
Full of freedom it watches our joy and our strife
Its wisdom learned flitting from water to air to trees

Starting training for the Pan-Mass Challenge has started, which in this cold weather, means hours spent on the bike trainer, head filled with thoughts of warmer days and recently, dragonflies.

In our family, dragonflies have always been a favorite. Not just a sign of summer in full swing, they hover in many of our memories. A lost family friends with an appreciation for their beauty. A beloved kitty, stalking her elusive prey in our backyard. A young man, with a head full of dragons, stilling his busy mind and body to allow one to alight on his finger.

This winter, despite (or perhaps because of) the weather I’ve been painting dragonflies. It started because we needed art for our dining room walls, and they were one of the few things I could create that weren’t a complete disaster. (Do you know how hard it is to watercolor a straight line? Or a bicycle? I have new appreciation for the true artists I have followed).

And then, as I strove to disconnect, I found myself itching to paint more of them, in colors of green for summer, blue for the sky, and, this weekend, in orange for a neighbor facing the end of his journey far earlier than he should have to.

Sharing a recent work online, I offered to send a watercolor dragonfly to anyone who donated any amount to my Pan-Mass Challenge fundraising for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in February. In response, I received a note from a neighbor, an amazing woman who gave back to our community is many ways, who had lost his wife to cancer. When they bought their home years ago, their backyard was filled with dragonflies. Today, he and his sons find comfort and connection in the magical creatures that continue to visit.

It was a reminder that for many, the dragonfly is not just a symbol of warmer days. It is one of life and loss. Joy and wonder.

Quote: Lessons from a Dragonfly – Ruth O’Neill