We all seem to impose elemental restrictions on ourselves and await some awesome natural disaster or miraculous sign to raze those stony definitions. Perhaps, it is not these huge bursts of knowing that cause us to metamorphose into different creatures. Consider: small things which go mostly unnoticed prepare us for a flash of true enlightenment. It seems to me this is the way of it, even if it is overstating the obvious. I was caught off guard by dragonflies.

This story is a wandering one, curving inwards and outwards again as is seen so often in aerial views of rivers. Rivers which run through us all: gurgling, thundering, swelling and sometimes evaporating. Thus, leaving us overflowing at places and dried up at others as they rush to the sea with a such momentum that they can become overwhelming. As a small child, I spent hours in the lakes surrounding my grandparents' home in northern Michigan and, later on, I could lounge away whole evenings soaking in the tub. Still do. So, I decided in some fairy story spun of daydreams that I was half mermaid but that the fins had been misplaced somehow and, although I could not remember that former "completeness," the scales definitely were freshwater. A lost nixie floundering on the shore of some mythic river. The element of my youth.                        

My little sister and her friends would sit around our house with shining eyes, flushed cheeks and wispy voices, telling stories about love at first sight. I was a cynic at seventeen, drowning in my loneliness and isolation without realizing it. Thus, not a believer in that particular fantasy. Worrying about them and their gossamer hearts, I wrote a story about a boy who takes a girl's virginity, knowing that she believes herself to be in love with him, and walks away without a backwards glance. It seems youth allows for such conceit. The title was, of course, "Dragonfly." It was the symbolic motif used to represent lost of innocence and her transformation. How could I know that I would forget my own words in less than a year? I did though. In the end, I had written my own story.

By the time the second dragonfly showed up, I was in an odd state with several loves and traumas behind me; those large earth-shattering events had left me running so fast and so hard that I didn't even know I was running anymore. It was in a mall, oddly enough. I was working as a saleswoman in a tacky, fine jewelry store. The owner, a wheeler-dealer who was as deep as a teaspoon and as trustworthy as a fox guarding a chicken coop, leaned over the glass cases showing off the diamonds. He was pitching his sales speech to a couple of women who looked like hard sells. Unneeded and ignored, I was waiting in the background when I noticed it fluttering into the store. We were some distance from a main entrance so the dragonfly took me by surprise. It brushed against one of the women's bleach blonde head and she swatted it away. Incensed, I reached out and cupped my hands around the poor thing. It sat still on my palm. From there, it was like stepping out of a shadow into light, for that is what I remember. Light and peace. The sun streaming through the glass atrium of the ceiling illuminated everything. Time slowed and it was like wading through a river of fiery air. I felt chosen and blessed. When I finally made it outside, I was blinded as I opened my cupped hands. The dragonfly sat there, blissfully beautiful, for what seemed to be a good long time. Then, it flew off with a flutter of its wings. Oddly, there wasn't a close source of water near the mall. It was one of my first experiences with ecstatic joy outside of ritual.

I knew almost instantly that the story and the event were linked, that they were divine in origin and that I was changed. There were a lot of larger events that preceded that awakening but they were trials, not transformation. No longer was I the river nymph. Instead, I wore a rather large pair of blue-fire opal wings. The divine was within me and it was outside of me. I was the author of my own tale while being a character in a larger one. Some things remain the same: I love to swim, take hot baths and there are even offerings to Melusine in my bathroom, but there are also dragonflies resting on my altar to Mary.


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