The Butterfly and The Dragonfly

It’s grey outside, but still uncomfortably muggy and hot.  I resent this weather.  If it looks like it’s cool out and hints at Fall, it should BE cool out.  Mother Nature is messing with me and I am NOT happy about it.  I look out the window and get all giggly at the prospect of leaving my house and feeling FALL just around the corner and NOT wilting like steamed cabbage, only to walk out the door and be smacked in the face with the wet blanket of heat combined with humidity. 

No matter though – I have air conditioning in my old van.  The van may be on its last legs, but the a/c is still strong.  Vanley (that’s my van’s name) has his priorities, after all, keeping my comfort at the top of his priority list.

Also, my phone died.  So now I’m about to drive around and make appointments that I could have called to make.  The really strange part of THAT scenario is that I would rather drive than call anyway.  My anxiety spikes when I have to talk on the phone, so I actually prefer to leave the house, even in this humidity, and drive 30 minutes to walk into the car place and talk to a real person to make an appointment to come BACK next week to get my link pins replaced on my crotchety old van.

Vanley (like Stanley) is an old and tired hunk of machinery.  He’s old before his time, actually, having been born in this century.  He shouldn’t be as run down as he is.  We “get” each other, in that way.

When he moves, he sounds the way I feel.  He creaks and groans a bit, and every time I drive over a bump or pot hole or tiny crack in the road, his joints rattle and clank.    He’s silver, which is appropriate, and he’s been mishandled and not properly looked after, up until now.  I’m doing my best, with the little funds I have, to give him joint replacements and some plastic surgery.  He’s already gotten new tires, new brakes, and had several seals replaced because he is leaking, as old ones often do.

Out On The Town With Vanley

As strange as it may seem, Vanley is my friend.  He takes care of me, if I take care of him.  It’s a very reciprocal relationship. 

He goes on adventures with me, and shows me things, and protects me from the noise and onslaught of the world.  He even has dinner with me occasionally, playing me some lovely music while I eat a gourmet meal of steak and potatoes (or a burger and fries…whatever!). 

He is also very philosophical, asking me questions and pointing out life lessons.

The other day, we were sitting at the light at a major intersection, watching a butterfly and a dragonfly cross the road.  They were mesmerizing.  The butterfly seemed so relaxed, just flitting about without a care in the world.  He seemed to be floating randomly, but he stayed above the crosswalk and made it all the way across the street with ease.  He did not fly in a straight line, but he got where he was going.

The dragonfly, though.  Oh, that poor dragonfly.  I feel so sorry for him.

I think he may be my spirit animal. 

He seemed to fly with purpose and direction and speed…but he kept flying in the wrong direction.  This was a major intersection – each street having 6 lanes and a lot of cross traffic.  Cars were whizzing through the intersection at a fairly high speed.  Poor Mr. Dragonfly kept getting in the way.

Dragonfly’s Journey

Dragonfly was trying to cross the entire intersection from his corner to the corner diagonal to him.  He would cross ALL of the lanes at one time, or so he thought.  He could see where he wanted to go, and he was hell bent on going there his way, no matter the obstacles.  He would start out and then ZOOOM, a car would almost flatten him.  He would whizz out of the way at the last second, confused and disoriented.  He would then fly madly in several directions trying and find his bearings and find them FAST.  Eventually, he would end up back at the corner where he started.

Then he would head out again, determined to go THAT way, right through the thick of it…and zooooooom, bam, clatter.  He was thrown off his game again and again.  He moved fast and with purpose… and kept getting thwarted and sent packing, every time.

Then he got hit!  It was over, his journey brought to a sudden and complete stop, the last thing he saw…oh…wait…THERE he is!  

He actually lived!  I thought he was a goner. 

With the traffic light about to turn, I had started to grieve for that poor little dragonfly.  Such a fighter, to meet such a gruesome death.  Instead, just as I was turning into the intersection myself, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the dragonfly appear again.  Still trying to go the direct route.  Meanwhile, the butterfly had not only crossed the street, but disappeared in the distance, well on its way to its destination.

Determination Does Not Always Get You Where You Want To Go

I’m like that dragonfly, I think.  Trying and trying and TRYING.  Determined to go somewhere, straight and fast, right through the thick of it, only to get almost flattened by oncoming traffic again, and again, and again.

Perhaps I would be better served adopting the butterfly’s strategy.  The butterfly seemed so relaxed.  As if trusting that everything would work out just fine, given enough time.  Butterfly seemed to be kind of lackadaisical, wandering and humming to itself a bit.  Unconcerned with whether it would get where it was going, but pointed in the right general direction.  He meandered.  He flitted. 

He waved at those passing by and stopped for a chat and a spot of tea.  Then he kept going, lazily floating toward his destination, to arrive MUCH quicker than the dragonfly.  Butterfly continues his lazy journey until he was out of sight, stopping along the way to smell the flowers.

Changes In Attitudes, Changes In Altitudes

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the dragonfly never got where he was trying to go.  I did wonder why he didn’t just fly up higher, above the traffic.  He was too lost in the chaos of trying to force his way through, when had he lifted up and flown higher, getting to his destination would have been easy.  Or had he followed his meandering butterfly friend, he could have made progress.  Instead, he was stuck, trying the same thing again and again and again.

Like the dragonfly, I can’t see the way to my goal through the chaos I am in.  I put my head down and try to force my way through, determined to move fast and GET there, and failing repeatedly.  Trying to ignore the noise and the traffic and just GO.

Perhaps a bit of meandering is in order.  Maybe I just need to adjust my attitude…or my altitude.  Perhaps I just need to get up above all of this noise, and the flying will be easier.

I don’t know what the change will be, at the moment, but I’ll need to do something differently because all of this TRYING is very tiring. 

I think I’ll go wave at some people, and stop for some tea.  Maybe I’ll wander a bit, and flit about, smell a flower or two, and see if there is a path I have yet to find.

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