I step out to the front of my car with my brain and vision blinded with the day’s—the life’s—to-do list when I see a large dragonfly lying on the pavement of my car port. Apparently my bully SUV stunned it. I wait a beat to see if it can pull itself together. When it doesn’t move, I reach for its long metallic-blue tail, but as soon as I grasp, it flexes between my fingers and the wings whir into action. It lifts a little, but the head falls off and dangles from a strand. I drop it immediately.
I see no way to help. But I haven’t the heart to finish the job either. Step on the head? Seems a shame to crush the perfect body. So I leave it lying on the concrete, head off to one side, wings tilting and twitching.
Experts believe dragonflies can see more colors than we can. Three to ten times the light-sensitive opsins in their eyes open a whole new rainbow we cannot fathom. Couple that with 30,000 facets in their compound eyes, called ommatidia (wonder what poor sap intern had to count those?), creates a vision unimaginable to our veiled sight.
I wonder if this is what John struggled to describe when he glimpsed the glory of the heavens: “a rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.”
“Have you seen?” the Lord asks Job; the answer being we can’t possibly. We’re again staring at only the shadows on the cave wall. The whole truth would blind and paralyze. And so we have to trust the One who can.
The next morning I step out into the new air and see the dragonfly. Its head has dried back in place. The clear, stained-glass window wings froze into a rigid crisp. The thousands of facets in the eyes gone flat dull. As I turn it over, its six arms are folded up and crossed, as in prayer.