Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

Kripalu Mindfulness Outdoor Experience Guide & Life Coach – Get Outside. Go Within.


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Finding Beauty and Hope In Nature

During these trying times, everyone needs to remember to focus part of their day on self-care. Whether that is five minutes of breathing, exercising, creating a healthy meal, meditating for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, painting, or spending time in nature. Stress is not good for our bodies, minds or spirit. For me, meditation and being outside in nature have allowed me to maintain my health, sanity, and connection to spirit.

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Pine Hollow Arboretum which is located a short way from my home. This has become my home away from home during the worldwide pandemic. Being in nature, walking the trails, listening to birds, walking barefoot, enjoying a sit-spot, and taking time to be mindful has been perfect way to enjoy life and get away from the news for short periods every day.

“Magic is seeing wonder in nature’s every little thing, seeing how wonderful the fireflies are and how magical are the dragonflies.” ~ Ama H. Vanniarachchy ~

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When I first arrived at the pond I noticed dragonflies of all sizes. This is not always the case and the varying sizes was a welcome surprise. They flew over my head, around me and through the reeds.

There were so many dragonflies flittering near the pond along with frogs of all sizes jumping and croaking. With the frogs croaking and birds singing what a lovely serenade.

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The trees were especially beautiful throughout the trails tonight. Although it was hot, the shade of the trees provided a welcomed relief from the heat.

Leaf shadows decorated the trees throughout the walk. I took some time for a sit-spot, breathing, and reflecting. Such a peaceful experience finding beauty and hope in nature.

My daughter gave birth to a daughter at home three weeks ago. She did not want to deliver in the hospital as her husband and her little boys would not have been able to visit. A home deliver was the best choice for her family. Thinking about my new granddaughter and watching the dragonflies lay their eggs gave me hope. Hope that our world will continue. We will overcome the pandemic, the political unrest, the illness and death, the separation from loved ones, economic uncertainty.

My new granddaughter will be remembered by her home birth during the pandemic. Her four year old brother present immediately after her birth to count her little fingers and toes. Her 18 month old brother not really understanding for the first three day. He has overcome his sadness, since nicknamed her Babe.

The dragonfly larvae may stay in the water for up to three years. This gives me hope as they have been around since the beginning of time, surviving catastrophes throughout the centuries. Dragonflies have been on Mother Earth for over 300,000 million years and here they are today still reproducing.

During the pandemic my family has witnessed the marriage of my great-nephew in North Carolina on Zoom. We attended a funeral service for a very close young friend. Then the birth of my granddaughter. We will soon celebrate the birth of another new family member in October. Life goes on.

We have to continue to have hope for a better future. If we could each focus on the future, on staying healthy we will be ready for the other side of the pandemic. What can we each do to bring beauty and hope in our lives?

We can exercise, eat healthy, meditate, spend time in nature. This is what has allowed me to maintain hope during all of the recent changes. I am one of the fortunate ones who has been working remotely, lucky enough to have walking trails nearby, healthy food to eat and prepare at home, electric, water, medical insurance. Not all have the same during the pandemic and I keep them all in my thoughts and prayers.

The one thing I can do while not able to be with others is to take care of myself. Self-care has been very beneficial. To keep sanity, someone living alone needs to have ways to maintain their health. If you are living with others, the house can seem small and crowded, even if you live in a large home. We all can benefit from self-care. For me, nature has been my go to. You may prefer exercise, running, drawing, writing, singing, dancing, creating or taking a nice bath. Even if you only take ten minutes a day, do yourself a favor and take time for yourself. If living with others, encourage them to do the same.

Please take care of yourself and allow yourself some time for self-care. This is more important now than ever.

If you already take the time, what are you doing to add self-care in your life? Please share.

Love and Light!

 


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In Search of Dragonflies

Dragonflies have not always intrigued me. In fact, as a child I was petrified of the dragonfly and damselflies because my mother told me they would sew my eyes and mouth shut.

What piqued my interest? It wasn’t actually the actual insect. When I owned my home I became obsessed with Trading Spaces. A television show that aired weekly with neighbors trading spaces in their home for remodeling of one room. Some of the decorators were a little out there for me with grass walls, bright colors and unusual themes. What I did like was how watching got those creative juices flowing and had me always on the lookout for a home improvement project to include laying my own subfloor and ceramic tile on my kitchen floor, painting, wallpapering, installing lights, a front and back door as well as a installing a stained glass window in my bedroom. The latter installations with the assistance of my son.

Where did the dragonflies come in? On a visit to Jo-Ann’s Fabric I found a red material with gold dragonflies. The material cost over $25 a yard. This was not affordable at the time but every time I would visit Jo-Ann’s the first place I went was to check on the material. One day I received a 1/2 off coupon in the mail and an unexpected check. That was the day I purchased several yards of the material. I didn’t know how to sew at the time but I borrowed my sister’s sewing machine and while watching Trading Spaces paid attention to the sewing and gave it a try. The curtains came out perfect. All the dragonflies lined up across the top of the curtain rod in a straight line. Three set of curtains all perfectly in alignment. That was the start. Then came the earring, a necklace, wall hanging, more earrings and an obsession was developed.

While walking in the Saratoga National Park I noticed dragonflies of many sizes along my walks. Every time I went on vacation, more dragonflies. Not always easy to capture with the camera but on many occasions I was successful. If you notice the dragonfly photo on my site you will see a red dragonfly that I captured on film while visiting The Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena California. http://www.huntington.org

On Friday I was enjoying an overnight with my niece at the Moreau State Park campground. While she read her book I wandered off to check out the trails. Along the way I spotted a beaver dam in the distance and went to check it out. Upon closer examination I noticed dragonflies skittering around in the air, landing on lily pads and enjoying the beautiful day. I had the camera and a couple of lenses so I clicked, checked to see if they were captured, clicked and viewed. Nothing to keep. There seemed to be several pairs flying together in the air mating. Mating dragonflies seem to fly faster than when single. It was difficult and I kept missing them. Then I sat on the beach, switched lenses and waited patiently. It wasn’t until after I shot several that I actually looked. This is what I captured:

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Can you imagine how excited I was when to my surprise when I actually captured photos of dragonflies in flight? Around an hour and a half after sitting it was time to return to the campsite. That’s when I noticed this amazing butterfly fluttering about from flower to flower. I ran after the little miracle and captured two shots before returning to the path. It wasn’t until two days later that I discovered the butterfly had a white circle with writing attached to a wing. As you will see, it isn’t legible because I hadn’t even noticed until after the fact. First I thought possibly the butterfly was electronic and someone was having fun watching me chase it along the path, then thought possibly it was part of a research project. Not sure how the sticker found its way to the wing but it was interesting.

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The entire weekend was spent camping, traveling to Rhode Island to visit my nephew and more sites, kayaking, and then on to the annual Garlic Festival in Bennington, VT. While kayaking dragonflies had a fun time skittering along the marsh area, moving too quickly for me to capture them from the kayak. By the time the camera was up and ready to shoot, they had moved on to the next area. The camera went down and I sat back to enjoy the sunset and dragonflies.

Taking in the scenery, water, sunset, sunrise, sound of the loons and paddles whooshing along the water, smell of fresh air and dragonflies plus a little tree hugging – what more could one ask for in one long weekend:)

Today an interesting thing happened. While waiting in line to order coffee with my granddaughter, I was sharing with her about the adventure in search of dragonflies when the woman behind interrupted. She was embarrassed to interrupt however when she heard us discussing dragonflies she wanted to share a recently published book titled Dragonflies by Pieter van Dokkum. The book must have sold out because they are back ordered. Looking forward to receiving my copy when they are available. Check out these two websites.

Do you have a love of an insect, animal or other nature that you pursue? I would love to hear about your adventures if you would like to share.

Love and Light!