Monday, February 7, 2011

Watching the Dragonflies

She sat down next to me and I noticed her earrings right away: dragonflies.

"I love your earrings," I said. "I love dragonflies."

Caroline smiled. "Thanks," she said, putting her hands up to touch the silver dangling dragonflies, as if she had to feel to remember them.

We talked about dragonflies' amazing fortitude, their resistance and ability to adapt to their environment. They are growing large, lately, I've noticed, the past few summers, and flying further afield from water than they once did as the climate changes, as they need to change. I have seen dragonflies in Midtown, by MOMA. They do seem rather artistic...

"Animals and plants are doing strange things lately, stratifying away from each other," Caroline noted, citing something she'd read. "We have to watch nature to see what it's doing, but as humans there is this confluence of wanting to invent and like water, wanting to find the easiest route."

Of course, Caroline and I agreed, we have to work together and with nature, as nothing survives alone. But despite any greater designs, such cooperation is not always the direction things go. Interdependence has a price and it is, of course, independence. It is a conundrum, then, whether it is best to choose collaboration or to go it alone.

Sitting side by side in the cafe, new friends, we both are rooting for communal efforts but, Caroline said, somewhat resignedly, "Making the choice to do right for yourself is survival in its perfect form."

If history is any indication, we seem, like the dragonflies, to bow and duck around in time, with the wind, to find the "best" way forward in various states of solitude and dependence.

"Either way, we are destined to make mistakes," Caroline said, getting up and acknowledging that our brief passionate discussion to try to figure things simply by watching dragonflies was not going to end in an answer.

I laughed as I gave her her gold star, for trying. "We're about as effective as Dr. Seuss's Whos screaming as loud as they could into the wind..." I said. "But at least we're trying to pay attention!"  

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