Sunday, April 7, 2013

something older

from 2008......

The other day I went to the little lake off of Cove Road to take pictures. I didn’t have anything specific in mind. I thought maybe I would see the wild turkey again, the one I saw in late May up in a tree. I didn’t, but I got several nice photographs of dragonflies. And so I sat down to write something about them, something about stillness, waiting, nearness, trust, consciousness, detail. After starting and stopping several times, I pretty much decided that there doesn’t seem to be anything richer than the simple fact of the dragonflies’ presence. The bulbous eyes, the shining tiles of spread wings, the returning surprise of a narrow powder blue body to a reed, like an airborne stylus or a comb held up to the light with the teeth pointing away from you. The leaf, the stem that holds something particular for those tiny feet. A template of curiosity when the creature settles closer, a way of thinking I let it have when I consider it but that surely isn’t there at all. How green and blue share the afternoon light in such a way that the same insect shines like the edge of a leaf one minute and then five later hums with the Maxfield Parrish brightness of twilight sky, a needle of blue flame sliding through shadow to water. I’ve heard dragonflies called snake doctors and so I looked up the term. Seems like the Native Americans started referring to them as such because of how dragonflies rode low over or maybe on the backs of snakes. Someone imagined them stitching up the wounds of injured king snakes and moccasins, I guess, and there you have it. it’s an image I like, one of wordless collusion between worlds, of healing transmitted through the thinnest of places to roughness, no questions asked.

©Laura Sorrells 2008
all rights reserved


  1. Oh, what an awesome dragonfly photo...the sun reflecting on his wings is like the light through a stained glass cathedral window! I love your write, too. Thanks for sharing, Laura.

    I saw my first dragonfly of Spring here in Louisiana a few weeks ago. He was so tiny, a newborn. I've been a dragonfly-lover since I was a small child. They just fascinate me. One of the most popular poems at my blog is "Last Night" by Sharon Olds. I love the dragonfly imagery in it. But nothing I've ever tried to write about dragonflies can ever equal Ann Carson's AMAZING poem:

    God’s Justice
    By Anne Carson

    In the beginning there were days set aside for various tasks.
    On the day He was to create justice
    God got involved in making a dragonfly

    and lost track of time.
    It was about two inches long
    with turquoise dots all down its back like Lauren Bacall.

    God watched it bend its tiny wire elbows
    as it set about cleaning the transparent case of its head.
    The eye globes mounted on the case

    rotated this way and that
    as it polished every angle.
    Inside the case

    which was glassy black like the windows of a downtown bank
    God could see the machinery humming
    and He watched the hum

    travel all the way down turquoise dots to the end of the tail
    and breathe off as light.
    Its black wings vibrated in and out.

    From: “Glass, Irony and God” page 49

  2. Holy smoke! I have known Carson's writing a little but had not read this until now. thank you for this!


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About Me

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Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at or