Dragon Light

Dragonflies in morning dews, Wexford County, USA

After a cool summer night I love to get out very early in the morning and search for dew covered, jeweled treasures. Dragonflies are a little like birds, they tend to roost in the same area each night. I try to photograph them in that half hour just before the sun comes up, when there is no direct sunlight to burn off the dew yet, and the shaded colors are so intense.

We think of Dragonflies as denizens of the sky, but its really not true. They spend the majority of their lives at home in water. As nymphs they hatch and live under the water, sometimes for as long as 5 years. Then they finally crawl out of the water and literally crawl out of their skin. The nymph skin splits open, and the adult emerges, complete with stunning, incredible wings that let then fly up, down, left, right, forward and backwards.

I often find myself wondering what animals experience in their lives. What does a salmon feel as she decides to push against the current and return to the place where her life began? What is a monarch butterfly experiencing when it migrates thousands of miles to a place that monarchs return to year after year, but no living butterfly has ever seen?

Its too easy for us to say that animals can or can not feel the same things that we do. I think instead that feelings and experiences are along a broad spectrum. Who knows that the dragonfly is experiencing when it sits covered in dew. Just maybe, it's possible that being gently encased in water makes it feel... at home again.

This image will be used in the summer issue of Nature of the Wild to illustrate an article on Dragonflies and Damselflies.