Columnist Sherry Hopkins – 8/11/2015

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sherry Hopkins

Dragonflies offer distraction from lawnmowing chore

It was the day to mow the grass and the heat index was supposed to reach 115! The hottest day of the week thus far. I am completely over yard maintenance as I always am by the time July’s end has rolled around each year. Everybody in the south is always declaring, ”It’s the humidity, not the heat!” But to me it’s the nasty combination.

The biting flies are out and biting in full force despite me being drenched in Deet. I have barely started the process and I’m already soaking in sweat. Even though I am on a riding mower, which requires only upper body strength and little physical movement, this is no fun, and by the end of the task, tiring.

I mindlessly create strip after strip of mowed lawn and I am in as grumpy a mood as I can be. I complain to myself out loud while mowing because no one can hear me or my foul mood.
After a half an hour or so I start to notice the dragonflies. They are following me like seagulls following a gulf trawler. They dart up and down and back and forth delighting in the manna that my mowing is providing.

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My mood begins to lighten. As the sun catches each one I notice the rays shining through their transparent wings. Some are amber, some are cobalt blue and still some are a beautiful claret red. Some have two rows of wings like old bi-planes. They fly about catching gnats mid-air with little effort and much skill.

They follow me closely zipping ever near my head without being too close. They seem to be delighting in my efforts as much as I am theirs.

Before I realize it I have forgotten the task at hand. I no longer notice the heat and humidity. I am not worrying about the fact that my old house seems to need a lot of repairs in $1,500.00 increments to keep it livable. I don’t seem to feel the longing to see my grandsons as deeply as I did just hours ago.

I have become more aware of my surroundings and the beauty of the deep blue sky, the lovely way the branches of the magnolia tree gnarl like an old arthritic hand. I smell the clean scent of the pines and ever so slightly I began to enjoy the warmth of the sun. I look around me and there are  myriad shades of green stretching toward the sky.

As I pass the rose bushes and crepe myrtles I can detect just a faint hint of pink that will no doubt be in full bloom the next time I am on this mower. I find myself looking forward to that day.
I am now singing out loud and not grumbling. For some reason I am singing the old song, Singing in the Rain! Who knows what dusty old file in my brain that sprang from. I don’t even like musicals.

The dragonflies are not stymied by the heat, the humidity, the old house,  or the lack of visits by grown young men with busy lives of their own. They aren’t worried about terrorism or racism or any other ism that complicates our lives daily.

They are simply feeding on insects that will no doubt satisfy their basic need. They will not grumble to themselves or complain to those who listen. They eat, they reproduce and they glide about the landscape adding joy and color to anyone who takes the time to observe them.
There is a lesson for me here. Funny how the most innocent occurrence can be so eye-opening. What a beautiful day I have had today!    I am healthy and happy with a home that I love despite its age. What’s to grumble about?