Posted by: Memorizing Nature | May 22, 2010

Inside My Dragonfly’s Eyes

“The ride is over, and I emerge reluctantly from the dragonfly’s eye.” (Photo by E. Medline)

Vision Series – Part 1

I meet my dragonfly during a walk in the woods, and feel diminished in its flighty presence. So diminished that I become small. So small that I am able to crawl onto its abdomen, across its thorax, and into one of the thousands of lenses of one its eyes.

Together, the dragonfly and I dart and hover, but most of all, we stare. I see differently, cushioned in this glassy sphere.

The sun is broken up into lines, and the stream below appears as liquid gold. A mosquito breezes by, its mouth dripping. Here arrives a potential mate in a quivering display of iridescent glory, calibrating its veiny wings; it suspects I am a parasite, and passes on by. The wind has a shape like pouring wine. Dew drops are a hall of mirrors. Bits of wood are flying in slow motion from a woodpecker’s relentless beak.

The ground is a rising mass of brush and mud. The sky, a yawning bowl of blue.

My own eyes started going last year. They lost their springiness. So I rely on my mind’s eye instead. My mind’s eye dwells in the past, and I am thankful for its pellucid play-backs.

My mind’s eye remembers my father digging the ground for a baby red maple.

It discovers my mother patiently teaching me how to comb our shag carpet with a wooden rake.

It observes me playing a game, the name of which is forgotten, where I twist my ankles in elaborate maneuvers among, and through, tied-together elastics. Sometimes a band would stretch too far and snap on my downy legs. My mind’s eye watches the elastic snap, but can’t recall the pain.

The ride is over, and I emerge reluctantly from the dragonfly’s eye. What a drab world this is! The sunset will never be beautiful again. Someone has bathed it in bleach and covered it in plastic wrap. I’m back to human, with mediocre sight, a poor sense of smell, and a brain that thinks too much.

My dragonfly did not always have wings, for these prehistoric insects live most of their lives as ugly nymphs under water, gobbling minnows. One day, the nymph hangs onto a reed and unzips its exoskeleton. Out of this hard carriage emerges the adult form.

My metamorphosis was more gradual, but no less baffling. First I was a nymph, and then, inevitably, I was wearing reading glasses.



  1. Absolutely delightful Elaine!! What a wonderful piece!

  2. Thank you, Diane. Posting every week is a rewarding challenge. There’s no shortage of material, however. The woods are rich.

  3. Beautiful!

  4. What lovely images!

    I’m fascinated with the idea of raking the rug. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that.

    • Joy, raking the shag rug was very early 70s, and I doubt we’ll see that trend again any time soon! Ours was bright orange, to match the brown couches. It was a cozy den.

  5. […] Vision Series Part 1 – Inside My Dragonfly’s Eyes […]

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