Stop and appreciate the dragonflies.
I’ve always loved dragonflies. Heck, when I was a kid, anything with the word “dragon” in it was cool. I was a fantasy fan from early on. I don’t remember there being a lot of dragonflies around when I was growing up. I spent a lot of time in the woods and near a creek, (pronounced “crick” where I come from) but I don’t remember seeing dragonflies there. So my first encounter, other than nature shows on television, occurred when, on a trip with my parents, we stopped at a rest area, and there were many small dragonflies rising out of the grass. One even landed on my shoulder. I was delighted. Dragonflies were more interesting to me than say, butterflies. Dragonflies seemed to have more of a purpose. Indeed, dragonflies eat evil mosquitoes while butterflies merely help pollinate flowers. Not surprising that in a choice between an interesting, ferocious predator insect and a beautiful insect which is often prey, I would choose the predator.
I moved to New Jersey, and since the state is basically a sand bar and very damp, every now and then I would see one of those big, apache helicopter style dragonflies zooming over a parking lot. Then when Gene and I (mostly Gene) built the pond, they appeared in our back yard. I guess they were attracted to the running water. I enjoy seeing them every summer. The bright, almost electric blue variety is the most common.
The park where I like to rollerblade is next to a large creek. (yup, it’s called a creek down here, not a crick) There, I have seen more varieties. One day, a bright golden dragonfly zoomed in front of me as I skated along. When I returned to that part of the circuit, she zoomed along in front of me again. This went on for each of the eight miles I skated until I was too tired to continue and the golden dragonfly found other ways to amuse herself. In that same park on a different day, a frost colored dragonfly sat and sunned himself on the blacktop. He had beautiful gossamer wings as they all do, but with two black vertical stripes across them. I skated carefully past this small thing of beauty. He rose up and flew away, but returned to the same spot by the time I came around again. Again, I was able to slow down and appreciate this lovely insect in the middle of my work out. The saying is that you need to stop and smell the roses. Well, sometimes, you need to stop and appreciate the dragonflies too.
Dragonflies have made their way into my decorating schemes for years now. They are on the wallpaper chair rail in my home office. A plaster one that I picked up in Florida adorns the wall. I have candles and candleholders covered in dragonflies. More perch on my desk and are attached to a wire below a kitty decoration I bought at a cat show. (I bought it for the dragonflies) Writer Nephew even bought me a string of dragonfly lights to celebrate my book deal. Funny thing, I had been looking at those exact lights and had nearly bought them for myself.
I never thought my favorite insect would find its way into my writing, but it did. Dragonflies, a.k.a. Odonata, inspired my vampire series. For the record, I never thought I would write a series, much less one involving vampires. Just goes to show that inspiration comes from everywhere, leading us to places we least expect… that is, if we stop to appreciate the dragonflies.