Summer Evening

We got back from Saint Joe around the time the sun begins to look like it’s getting serious about closing out another day. I parked the truck near the house where the gravel slope crowns after its five-hundred-foot run up from the highway. I walked back to the trailer and started un-strapping the motorcycle while Randa went into the house. Pausing between the second and third strap, I looked over at the small horse pasture. 

The air seemed filled with dragonflies: swooping, dipping, darting, banking, turning, zipping and zooming from some invisible thing to the next. There were so many flying about that it seemed quite likely there must be a collision or two in the very near future. They flew across and around the yard, the driveway, and the field, sweeping up as high as the top of the old spruce tree and then diving in toward the ground. Bronze ones, black ones, blue ones and some a mixture of colors. I don’t know if they were different species or just different genders and maturity levels. It was not possible to count them but I’m confident there were a couple hundred or more.
 
I don’t know if some tremendous hatching of tiny bugs had just taken place and drawn the dragonflies here or if it was just a traditional rendezvous. Maybe our little place here is the Sturgis of the Anisoptera, a place where meadowhawks, pondhawks, skimmers and whatever else come together regardless of what they’re called. I didn’t know the particular name of any one of them; they’re all dragonflies to me.
 
What I did know was that I was experiencing a moment of rare spectacle and intensity, a moment most assuredly to be treasured. I stood for a little while, ignoring the needs of the day, the duties of evening. If the horses could wait a while longer for feed, the Nighthawk could surely wait a while for its moving into the garage.
It is a fine and deliberate skill, this cultivating of the awareness to know the things that can wait without fading and those that must be seized in that instant or be lost forever.
 
I remember feeling very much like this on a Wednesday evening in a small church in southern Kentucky some forty-six years ago. Halfway through the first a cappella verse, just before the chorus, I knew it was time. I yielded to the tugging inside me and put my left foot out into the aisle. Heart pounding, stomach fluttering and head spinning, I walked quickly and deliberately toward the preacher.
 
Ten minutes later, I was being baptized.
 
And in these long years since then, that moment when I rose up from the waters, pure and cleansed, every sin purged from God’s great memory, there has not been another moment even remotely like that one. Everything that I was, could be and am becoming, exploded and compressed within me in the same pulse.
In that instant, I knew that I had become one with God Almighty.
 
H. Arnett
8/23/11
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About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Blair, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-five years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-one grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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