A Close Encounter on the Beach

A friend and I shared thoughts of day-to-day life and how to live life well by being intentional, by being aware of the gift of each day and what might be discovered. She suggested the idea of being a “noticer”. She encouraged me that practice might be especially important on days when life is particularly “out of sorts”.

I’d had a few of those “out of sorts” days. My friends’ words flooded back into my consciousness, pushing aside my focus on what wasn’t going the way I had planned. That made space for me to begin to notice. I wasn’t sure what I was to notice, but I was willing to give it a try.

I began to search the faces of those I encountered. I listened for words being spoken. I tried to quiet my rambling mind and seek a word or two floating into my head from somewhere up There.

Nothing seemed to be particularly noticeable. Nothing different on the faces, no words that grabbed my attention and nothing from There.

But there was this pesky dragonfly. As I walked along the beach my toes digging into the warm sand, the intruder kept flying into my space. I’ve seen lots of dragonflies on my walks. I’m fond of water and beaches and so are they. Usually they keep a safe distance, uncertain of who I am or my intent on their behalf.

This dragonfly was different. He or she seemed determined to stay close by. At first I didn’t think much of it. As this winged creature continued to dart to and from within arm’s reach, I couldn’t help but notice. Then the insect was gone and with that, gone from my remembrance as well.


Oddly enough it happened again the next day as I walked. In fact over the next few days, a dragonfly found it’s way into my space a number of times. I was in several different locations so I’m assuming this was not the same dragonfly every time. But I suppose it could have been.

Nothing else seemed very noticeable in the few days since the encouragement of my friend. Could this dragonfly be noticeable? Was there a message here?

I turned to the web to see what I could learn about dragonflies. I found an interesting listing of symbolisms. It seems the dragonfly has quite a folk lore surrounding it.

Here are a few of those meanings attached to this winged creation:

**realization of self and the deeper meaning

**poise that comes with maturity

**the dragon fly is known for it’s elegance and grace

**unmasking of one’s real self

**removing doubts one casts on her own sense of identity

**removing inhibition that keeps one living small and safe

**informed choices

**lives life without regrets

I don’t know who came up with all of these suggestions, but I like them. They speak into spaces that get my attention. They encourage me to think about the implications of what they could mean to me.

On the one hand this sounds a little silly. Really? A dragonfly happenstance creating places for me to dream of what can be? It’s just a dragonfly coincidence! Right? Sure!   The whole idea is a little off kilter, a bit odd.

But what if? Who created the dragonfly in the first place? Could God use one of His creations to get my attention? Would you remove me from your list of acquaintances if you learned that God’s used hummingbirds in the past to get my attention. And before that bright red cardinals?

Yep! My mind runs busy much of the time. I can miss subtle prodding if I’m not paying attention. Sometimes it takes the out-of-the-ordinary to capture me and turn my thoughts Upward.

And so a dragonfly to encourage me to focus on removing doubt I occasionally cast on my own sense of identity, to continue to seek discovery of my unique self and remove inhibition that keeps me living small and safe. I think that’s worth noticing.

I will never pass off the visitation by a dragonfly again as just coincidence. I think God-incidence is more like it and I’m noticing!

valerie avery Valerie Avery treasures the journey of embracing all God has gifted her with including creating art and beauty using fibers, beads and nature. The bond of 46 years of marriage has created a legacy as mother to 5 and “Grammie” to 20. She is venturing into the world of writing and is grateful for a place to share stories of growth and hope.  You can read more here.