Watching Dragonflies Hatch
I was filling up the watering can from the pond when I noticed a small bug-looking thing hanging from another bug on the dock steps. It was odd enough for me to take a closer look. Then I realized I was seeing one bug emerging from a bug, or rather, a casing. Dragonflies. Watering chores would have to wait. I got my glasses and camera and settled onto the warm planks of the dock to watch.
This bizarre looking thing is a dragonfly emerging from its nymph stage, where it has lived in the water for a year. I can’t wrap my head around how what was a bug is now a bug-casing and there’s a new bug coming out of it.
The dragonfly has emerged. At this point, It looks more like a worm than a dragonfly, and see how tiny the wings are? As it hangs there, it gets larger and when I compare the casing it came out of, I wonder how it ever fit.
Then the wings grow–gossamer incredible bits of translucence. Are they unfolding or expanding or both? Really, it is a miracle.
Then more hanging there while the wings get even larger.
Now the dragonfly, looking like a dragonfly and twice as large as its original casing, crawls up and faces the wind. It takes its tiny legs and rubs them over its giant eyes. I am so, so eager to watch it fly. But it waits, wings back, more facing into the wind, more eye rubbing.
And then it happens. The wings that have been up to now, straight back, suddenly open, two on each side, and like a prop plane warming up, they vibrate, feeling the wind.
And then it takes off, up into the air, and away.
From the water to the air, from an aquatic bug to a flying thing, in less than two hours. And we humans think we’re so clever with our gadgets. We’re just lumbering blind things, compared to this miracle.