Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dragonflies in My Life

In Japan dragonflies are associated with courage, strength, and happiness. I prefer to think of them as angels in disguise. They give me courage and strength in times of discomfort. I have dragonflies all around me. In the summer my fairy fort is a playground for dragonflies. They flitter around from the hibiscus flowers to the fig tree branches. They land on the smooth branches of the crepe myrtle trees. And that's just the REAL dragonflies! A few years ago, I declared that dragonflies are our family symbol. A few people looked at me like I am crazy. (I consider this a compliment!) But many other people, the ones who really count, loved the idea and started bringing me dragonflies. I have dragonfly candles, dragonfly towels, dragonfly paperweights, dragonfly lamps, dragonfly wind chimes, dragonfly t-shirts, and on and on. You get the idea. So here's the deal, when I am feeling down or worried about something, I look nearby and see something like my dragonfly magnifying glass or my dragonfly necklace (both given to me by students), and I realize that there are many people who care about me. And maybe, just maybe, whatever I am worried about is really insignificant. So you can see that I could never de-clutter any of my dragonflies!

A few years ago, I became very sick. I was in intensive care for a few days and the doctors prescribed strong pain killers. I was even more loopy than usual. At night when I was falling asleep, I saw people coming into my room. They gathered around my bed and talked with me and with each other. There were lots of them, but I only recognized a few of them. They were the characters in the books I had been reading! Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran), Dina Dalal (A Fine Balance), and Isabel Allende (Paula) stood around my bed talking to me, giving me advice, encouraging me, nudging me to fight for my recovery. I remember thinking, Okay, now I know I am really losing it! Now I think of these characters as friends. So as you can see, I can't possibly de-clutter any of these books. Maybe other books?

It occurred to me today that my fairy fort is a metaphor for my life. Yes, it's cluttered, but it's full of wonderful and beautiful things and so much for which to be grateful.

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