Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dancing with Dragonflies; Darting from Disaster

My bike tires spin wildly as I careen down the long driveway of our new house. Shimmering red dragonflies flit around me, diving through the humid air. They chase after others that shine with the purest gold and show no racism when joined by those that are glimmering green.

Hundreds of dragonflies are circling my bike, flying with me, swift as the wind. I spin in and out trying not to hit them and as the bright sunlight skips off their diamond-cut backs, shooting colors into the sky. I feel like I am cycling on a road made entirely of precious stones. I am filled with joy. I am in another world.

As I reach the huge gate that now guards the 40 acres we will soon be living on, I find a large, red dragonfly prone on the grass. I bend down and touch the tip of its intricate lacework wing. I stroke it's head and look at those giant, cut-glass eyes.
They stare blankly back. The heat must have been too much. Then I see another crushed into the gravel road, hit by a car, or maybe a bike.... All the sparkle, the life, has gone out of this beautiful creature.

I think about the news report I read this week...more than 12 children are dying in Somalia, every hour, of hunger. The famine there is now affecting nearly half of the Somali population or 3.7 million people. I look down at the decimated dragonfly and gently pick it up, carrying it to the Waskasoo Creek.
 This is the source of their life and now, as I drop it on the swiftly moving stream, the means of this one dragonfly's burial. My joy is mixed with sorrow. This is life...

...and death.
Millions of children caught in political nets, innocent eyes wondering why their stomachs are empty when there should be enough food. Why is it not being given to them? With the way Somalia has been carved up by clan leaders and militias, access to aid groups has to be negotiated every step of the way. That takes time. Many starving children, do not have that kind of time. The sparkle, the creative energy, the love for life is being extinguished, like putting a damper on a candle. All the potential for creativity, for good, for love - gone.

As I bike back through the woods and look at the affluent homes around me, I wonder at the incongruity of this world. Many of the people in this area give money to help the hurting and starving. I give what I can, but I cannot give enough. No one can.

I admire the courage, beauty and strength of the dragonflies, such delicate creatures. Through their transparent wings one can better see the fragility in all of life...

A Somali mother starts the 37-day trek, with her five children, to a Kenyan refugee camp. A day before they arrive her four-year-old daughter and five-year-old son die of exhaustion and hunger. They stopped under the shade of a tree for a short rest. She thinks they are sleeping. She must leave them under the tree and try to save her baby and the other two children. Beauty. Strength. Courage.

I think back a few days ago to the treasures I discovered in my Mom's Cedar chest. There were locks of my hair and the baby bibs my brother and I used. My pink, faded, stained bib proclaimed, "Good Girl!" I wonder how they knew...

This Somali mother will never save precious locks of her children's hair, or their bib's with stains that signify an overabundance of food.

My husband and I are almost moved into a beautiful home nestled in the midst of the woods. This move has been one of the most difficult tasks we have gone through in recent memory. We hate moving and so have made a point to enjoy every moment, delight in the treasures we have discovered and relish the memories old letters and photos have provided. We are truly blessed, but our time is not our own. Even though we do not face imminent starvation and death, we have no idea how long our life's flame will burn...

In these last few weeks, I have determined to let my flame burn as brightly as possible. I will release all my colors into the sky, exploding with everything that is in me. I want to live up to the example I see in my fellow human beings - beauty, strength, courage!


  1. Thanks Jack. A Network Blog follower, Charlotte, said, "gorgeous pictures, well crafted words, beauty and heartache mixing, swirling, bringing joy and sorrow...thanks for sharing this."

  2. gorgeous pictures

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