catching dragonflies

Since half my social interaction takes place at the school bus stop, you hear a lot about it. So far it’s been nice weather, so we sit on the grass beside the thorn bushes and the overgrown shady spot beneath a tree, and we take guesses on how late the bus will be today.

(Our bus driver is the nicest man in two shoes. But for the first couple of weeks, while the parents and the kids are still getting used to the routine, there’s going to be some lateness. We deal with it.)

The waiting is made more fun because we’re catching dragonflies.

When I told my father this, he said, “Oh, that’s not right!” Because dragonflies are beautiful. Dragonflies haven’t changed in the fossil record since the time of the dinosaurs. I love dragonflies, and one of the things I want in Heaven, at least one time, is for God to make me tiny-tiny so I can saddle one up and ride it around. Yes, that’s silly, but I’m ineffably silly at heart. You should know this by now.

In fact, one of the things I prayed for when we moved to Angelborough was that I’d see at least one dragonfly. And that worked out pretty well because (as I later learned) that year we had more dragonflies than anyone in the neighborhood had seen in the last decade. Red ones. Tiny ones. Translucent ones (they’re stunning!) and dragonflies the size of hummingbirds. We’ve got them.

So when I said “They spend time catching dragonflies,” my father rightly scolded me because it’s just not right to kill our beautiful mosquito-eaters.

The new mom at the bus stop was the one who showed us how to catch them. She held out her finger right beneath where a dragonfly hovered, and it landed on her.

Since then, the children have spent their time noting the dragonflies’ patrol patterns and then extending their hands where they know they’ll land. And we’ve worn them in our hair and on our shoulders, and sometimes at my house I’ll put out my hand and take one on myself.

In The Guardian there’s a time when Tabris (guardian angel) tells Sebastian (his charge) that he had a dragonfly land on the boy because he knew the boy would like it. It was a sign of love in a guardian/charge relationship that was already strained.

But now, as we wait for the bus on the final warm afternoons of the year, dragonflies land on us every day, and I like to think that’s a sign of love too. We catch the dragonflies, and maybe in some fashion, the dragonflies catch us too.


  1. Teresa


    I love dragonflies. “Snake Doctors” my Dad used to call them, and I’m reminded of him when I see one. This post made me smile. 🙂