The Dragonfly

He’s done it again, this little hunting schnoodle of ours.  Or so I’d thought.

Every dog has a purpose, and Fitz’s just happens to be hunting lizards.  On our afternoon walks, he’s not looking in the grass.  He’s likely to walk headfirst into bushes and posts, even his two brothers, as he watches the brick sides of the house for lizards – green chameleons, red-headed skinks, striped skinks, and the brown ugly gecko-looking kind that resemble jagged pieces of pine bark.  

Fitz on the back porch with his trophy 🏆 kill

Bless his heart, his eyesight is failing him terribly, but his passion never wanes.  Sometimes he misses what is right under his nose, so I confess – – there are times that I do the equivalent of what drug enforcement agents do for their drug canines to boost their confidence- – I catch a lizard and plant it right in front of him so he can continue to be the dog he was born to be.  My precious protector needs to believe that he will always hold aggressive baby killer dinosaurs at bay, far from his mom.  I watch through finger slats over shielded eyes as he rips the tails and other appendages off, and plug my ears so I don’t hear the crunch – cheering silently for him in his relentless innate sport.  

One night last week, we noticed a huge dragonfly flitting through the garage, clearly lost and trying to find his way back outside.  He was stuck above the opened door and couldn’t quite figure out that lowering his altitude would have made a world of difference.  We opted not to try to help him, fearing we would damage a wing.  We trusted he would find his way out once the lights were off and he could adjust his focus in the dark.  

When I came back inside from filling the birdfeeders early the next morning, all three dogs were huddled in a circle in the middle of the living room rug like they were at Wednesday night prayer meeting. They didn’t scatter off as I approached to see what was up.  They were all staring at the giant dragonfly staring back at them, belly-up on the rug.  Even Fitz, his hunter instinct in check, seemed to show concern for this beautiful creature who had apparently darted in the house, unbeknownst to us.  

I held a faint glimmer of hope that he would recover.  I took him outside and placed him carefully on the front porch coffee table and gave him a pep talk.  He seemed to be bidding the world goodbye, just as Charlotte did, waving her front leg as she was languishing, and I tried to shove the memory of grief deep back inside and bury it under fiftyish years of time. Yet still, half a decade later, the Zuckerman Farm has become the Johnson Funny Farm, and I still believe I’m part-Fern who never grew up. Today, a dragonfly replaces a spider, and three schnoodles replace a pig, a goose, and a sheep – and I’m still humanizing every creature that dwells here with us as I consider the impact that E.B. White’s beloved story Charlotte’s Web continues to have on me.


Hosea 4:3 

Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away.

4 Replies to “The Dragonfly”

  1. I love how you weaved the connections of Charlotte’s Web into this moment at your home with your group of animals. Such a well-written piece.

    Immediately as I read this line: I catch a lizard and plant it right in front of him so he can continue to be the dog he was born to be. …my mind connected to helping my 87-year old mother right now, choosing to do things so she can continue to be who she was born to be. Life is hard. Yet so precious and beautiful. SO glad I read your writing today. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim,
    I’ve been reading a lot of climate change literature lately, and most talk about our relationship to sentient beings and how damaging it is to see critters as something we have dominion over. A much better stance is the one you take: respect for and awe for Earth’s inhabitants. There’s growing research about how intelligent many live forms are, growing research about how much we have in common, and so I wonder what this dragonfly is thinking and trying to say as ai watch the videos and see that single leg rising and falling. The parallel to Fitz’s failing eyesight is both uncanny and sublime. I’ve noticed the past few weeks that Snug has become disoriented at times on our walks. He, too, is experiencing failing eyesight, as has Puck. Still, Snug keeps us snout too the ground and is happiest when “hunting” and running, although the days of catching squirrels have passed. I don’t see myself catching one for him but do love envisioning you chasing lizards.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim,
    The imagery you evoke is delicious.
    I adore your thoughtful word choice woven through out your writing.
    (“Baby killer dinosaurs” !!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Poor dragonfly. And dear Fitz. And the baby killer dinosaurs (yikes!) and all living things that must die. Which is why every moment and the opportunity to love matters so profoundly. Charlotte’s Web became my favorite book in 4th grade – Fern is not so many letters different from Fran! Once you’re in her web, you never really get out, nor should you. Your words and wit, like White’s (have you read his book on dogs? Dachshunds!) move me on a number of levels… you stir many emotions and remind me of a favorite quote by Rukeyser: “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” In all the impermanence…stories remain. I am grateful for yours!

    Liked by 1 person

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