I'm ending an amazing bicycle tour from Portland to near San Francisco. It has been a powerful transformative experience. Among many quasi-paranormal things that happened along the way, I came upon a beautiful dragonfly on the side of the highway in Oregon one morning, after a night in which I felt reborn. This dragonfly, seen smiling (!) earlier in my flickr stream ( www.flickr.com/photos/cleverchimp/4961401374/in/photostream ), allowed me to handle him, not flying away, but riding with me on my front pack for the rest of the day. He died during the night, losing his iridescence ( www.flickr.com/photos/cleverchimp/4960796131/in/set-72157... ). I bore his body in my "hearth" (stove www.flickr.com/photos/cleverchimp/4974077955/in/photostream ) for the remainder of my journey. A little Googling indicated that dragonflies are, among other things, symbols of transformation. I decided he represented my old self, or a welcoming guide to my new self.
Now, I had planned to end this trip with a hang-glide from Mt. Tamalpais to Stinson Beach. It so happens that the German term for hang-gliding translates literally to "dragon-flying." I planned to carry the dead bug, become totem, off the mountain to lay him to rest in the waves. Turns out there was no flying due to the mountain being shrouded in hard-driven mists. So a dear friend of mine (who took this photo of me) drove me to the launch point, where I played with a mix of solemnity and self ridicule at fulfilling my vision quest. I opened the hearth and held him aloft. Then we descended the mountain westward to the beach, as I imagined my old dead self being drawn out of my being, transferring to the Drachenfliege. I consigned him to the surf, here, with thanks.
i wrote about my trip here: clevercycles.com/blog/2010/11/26/down-the-pacific-coast-b... . but not the more intimate dragonfly parts. for that you have to ask me.