A few years ago, after relocating to the east coast, I woke one morning in the early summer to an incredible sight. As I looked out my window to greet the new day, I was amazed to see literally thousands of dragonflies swarming over the dune. I had never seen so many in one place so I walked down to the beach to get a closer look. It was absolute pandemonium out there. Everywhere you looked were dragonflies showing off their incredible aerobatic prowess, but the craziest part was that no matter where I walked on the beach, this spectacle appeared to only be happening right in front of my house. I knew right then and there that the dragonflies had been sent by the universe to deliver a message intended just for me and if I was going to be able to interpret this message, I would once again need to consult the repository of all human knowledge, YouTube.
The first thing I discovered is that these little insects are not newcomers to planet earth. In fact, by studying fossil remains, science has been able to trace them back over 300 million years. That’s a hundred million years before dinosaurs showed up on the scene. Interestingly, although they have had all that time to evolve, their form is virtually indistinguishable from their modern day counterparts except for their size, making them one of the most successful life forms in our planet’s history. Due to their otherworldly appearance, they have been both feared and revered throughout human history, earning them such nicknames as Devil’s Needle or Hobgoblin Fly.
The truth about dragonflies turns out to be even more fascinating than the superstition. They spend most of their lives (about 2 years) as an underwater insect called a nymph only to undergo a complete metamorphosis into the winged creature we know as the dragonfly just in time to live out their final two months. Many of the over 5000 known species of dragonflies are able to achieve flight speeds of 30 mph combined with the ability to stop, turn on a dime, hover and even fly backwards, which is why the military is currently studying their wing configuration in order to develop a precision drone design. As far as the food chain goes, lions and sharks, with their barely 50% kill rate, ain't got nothing on these veracious predators who capture nearly 95% of their intended prey with the help of their keen 360 degree multifaceted eyesight and exceptional flying agility.
Rather than some sort of divine intervention, all my research has suggested that the reason the dragonflies have decided to grace my yard may in fact have more to do with the combination of the stagnant water in the abandoned swimming pool at the fleabag motel next door and the lush indigenous dune vegetation that makes for a virtual insect smorgasbord. Although I never learned to speak fluent dragonfly, I still believe there is an important lesson to be learned from our four winged friends.
You've spent your whole life struggling to break free of that exoskeleton of other people’s expectations of who you should be. It’s your time to fly! Life is short. Don’t waste it dude.