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Nature as Friend

Dragonfly… Breaks illusions, No need to prove it, Now is the hour! Know it. Believe it. Great Spirit intercedes, Feeding you, blessing you, Filling all your needs. -“Nature Spirits” During this past week, our family vacationed at the Afterglow Lake Resort in Phelps, WI, again this year. It’s a glorious time for all the Ketterhagen clan that can be there. We usually occupy four of the 16 cabins.

We swim a lot, even when the water is cool. We play games, trying to see who will be the “Quirkle” or “King’s Corners” or “Scrabble” champion this summer. The grandkids have a great time playing basketball or soccer with the other younger generations at the resort. We all have a great time directly connecting with nature, especially Afterglow Lake’s eagle, the large-mouth bass that we caught and returned to the water, the deer and occasional bear that roam through the woods while we walk the trails.

We also always have a challenging time with the mosquitos, deer flies and horse flies.

This summer though the mosquito challenges were different. Instead of mosquitoes landing on us and taking their portion of our life force—our blood—we were greeted with dozens of dragonflies. Wherever we were, they were. One day, two of them sunbathed on my white skin for about 20 minutes. They just sat there, occasionally fluttering their wings, but mostly just being present.

I put myself into a quiet state, set down my book and cleared my mind to see if they wanted to share any information with me. I had long known that the “medicine” of the dragonfly, according to the Native American Tradition, was “illusion”. So, I asked the question, “What illusion of mine will be broken?”

No special insights presented themselves to me. Just a general peace came over me. Later, though, I encountered a thought that never entered my mind before…”Nature can be your friend. Insects, bugs and mosquitoes in particular, are not here to hurt us, but to befriend us and share with us important spiritual and physical information. Humans are such marvelous beings. We are the most developed of all God’s creation and nature wants to befriend us, wants to serve us.”

Then, I became aware of the mosquitoes. I realized that their constant movement around me, their constant desire to land on me and their constant desire to take my blood was a sign of their deep desire to be with me. To my wonder, I thought, “They love us so much that they want to partake in our life force, our blood. Every time they come near us, it is a sign of how wonderful we as humans are and how much they long to be with us.”

However, it is annoying to have the mosquitoes take my blood and leave an irritating itch. My illusion that God put mosquitoes on earth to pester and irritate me might not be the whole truth. The mosquitoes might be here to get our attention to the loving presence of God in our lives.

So, the dragonflies shattered that illusion for me. But they also created another and then shattered that. Dragonflies eat as many as 30 mosquitoes a day. They are the reason that the resort was mosquito free. When I journeyed to the Cross Country Ski trail outside of the resort, the mosquitoes were again all over me and dragonflies were not around. This space was not as warm and friendly as the resort. The owners of the resort are gentle, loving folk. They have developed a warm and pleasant atmosphere that welcomes dragonflies, for dragonflies, according to the Native Americans, only frequent welcoming, non-violent places.

My thinking continued to evolve. I wondered whether the reason that nature is acting so harshly to humans lately—with all the storms and the floods and the volcanoes and the fires and the global climate change—might be a consequence of our human abuse of Mother Nature, our earthly mother. We have cleared the trees from her rain forests; we have polluted her oceans with islands of plastic; we have made tar sand oil pits out of Canadian wilderness; we have burned fossil fuels so much that the Great Coral Reef is dying due to the warm ocean temperatures; we have melted the great glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. We humans have not really befriended nature much, but used her for our own pleasures.

I sometimes wonder if there is a connection between the today’s #MeToo movement that has publicized the vast abuse of women and the human being’s pattern of abusing “Mother Nature.”

Nevertheless, this dragonfly experience broke my illusion that nature is not friendly. I now know that my relationship with nature needs to be like my relationship with a friend. She will then care for me and even take the negative experience of “mosquitoes” away from me. I am to treat nature as my friend.

Thank you dragonflies, for all that you do for humans and for breaking unnecessary illusions.


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