What the Dragonfly Says

I start my day at the roses, hundreds of yellow and red suns bending toward the sky, and as I walk I let my shoes move until they stop, leaving me in front of a yellow bloom quivering in the still morning air. As children exit school buses with field-trip glee I stop to smell her, and she is a funny rose, not like the others—almost dank: musky, cold cave. And so I lean to find another but then I decide to stick with her, to dig nose in deeper. I smell an old tool shed, a mossy oak branch under slick wet leaves, a bouquet I was a breath away from missing. “You are beautiful” I tell her, so loud the children laugh but I don’t care.

I meander past trees and worker bees and find my sweet friend for our lunch at the park. We circle and square for the patch of sunlight we know we will find. A dragonfly flutters about and lands beside us. But then he’s off to cypress heights and I imagine for a moment the view of the park from the tree I see him settle upon.

Back home I listen to the sounds of aboriginal music and between songs I hear the high-pitched chirping chorus of the birds in my next door neighbor’s tree and I think, How easily I forget to listen. And I swear the sparrows are singing in harmony with the didgeridoos coming from my speakers, rising into crescendos just as the song reaches its refrain: “Keep your face to the sunshine and you will not see the shadow,” the singer says, and the birds suddenly… stop. And there is a dull ache in my ear saying all of this is not possible, that the bath water gets colder the moment you think it’s perfect, that the fragile strand that connects us is too fine a fabric for this cut-and-paste world.

But I can do nothing but choose this: the faith that we are all beacons along a path that in the end, is the sound of us rising.

And later in the day I walk along the river, and I see a dead fish decaying in the shallows. Just as I say “shoot” a live fish jumps airborne in front of me, five times thudding back into the river with the loudest splash of life. “Holy shit!” I say and smile and think: Exactly. Holy. Shit.

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