I was giving a SUP lesson to a guest when I saw the dragonfly. We have an eddy on our side of the river and the beautiful creature was slowly being transported upstream. I had my student gently push it toward me so I could carefully lift it. Although it was motionless, I thought maybe since its mouth was above water it hadn't drowned, but who knows how long it had been stuck that way, its gold filigree wings serving as shackles binding it to the current?
As my paddleboard student worked up and down along the shoreline, getting a feel for the board while kneeling, I took the dragonfly to our pumphouse roof and gently turned it right side up, leaving it there after studying its body. It was magnificent. A truly breathtakingly stunning insect in full bloom. It was about 5" across, its body the color of celestial marvels, but the wings were what held my eye longest. I've studied them and drawn their distinctive curves and veins for our embroidered clothing, always captivated by the beauty and mystery. How can something that weighs no more than a whisper and appears so fragile jettison the dragonfly at such dizzying speeds?
The dragonfly's life span is brief. After crawling up from the river bottom, they break out of their fierce-looking carapace. It served them so well over winter in the murky world where they were one of the tiniest but toughest predators, but the next stage is airborne and the heavy exterior is left behind.