One of my favorite things about spring is the emergence of fanciful winged creatures—the enchanting dragonfly who metamorphosed after spending two years underwater as a nymph, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail who cocooned on the Magnolia and flutters about the treetops searching for nectar-filled flora, the Ruby Throated Hummingbird whose delicate wings traversed the non-stop flight over the Gulf of Mexico, the myriad of moths that feast on wildflowers, the solitary bee who emerged out of its winter burrow, and the Hummingbird Moth who pupated during winter underneath the leaf litter.
These wonders of nature inspire delight and awe in me. They are also rich with paradoxes: strength in smallness as the hummingbird’s tiny wings fly long distances and hover over a flower beating at 53 times per second. The delicate yet nimble dragonfly—its paper-like wings enabling it to fly upside down and backwards.
I am grateful for the gifts these creatures offer to our ecology. All except the dragonfly are vital pollinators. And dragonflies are equally important as they can eat hundreds of mosquitoes each day.
As we observe the beauty and marvels of these aviators, we can embrace the soulful gifts of inspiration and wisdom for our own journeys. For me they symbolize transformation, hope, spirit, and strength. Most importantly, they remind me to flutter, dance, and hum.
Do you identify with a winged creature? What does it symbolize for you?
You may want to explore its gifts and symbolism through a sketch, collage, or poetic form such as the Haiku (see below). Or simply savor the magical moment when you encounter one.
We can explore the season’s winged creatures through poetry such as the Haiku. This Japanese poem is only three lines with a specific number of syllables for each line (5-7-5, respectively). It also doesn’t rhyme or have a title. I am particularly drawn to the Haiku as its themes are traditionally rooted in nature and the seasons. In fact, the poem usually includes a word (a kigo) that reflects the season. I find that the boundaries of the Haiku offer spaciousness in my expression. And there is poignancy in the brevity.
A Haiku captures a moment much like a snapshot photo. In phrases and fragments we describe what we see. We offer our attention to the natural world and notice what calls out to us. Taking in that moment with our senses, we invite it to inspire our words. In the art of Haiku we express and honor what unfolds before us.
still for a moment
lacey wings iridescent
dart, dragonfly, grace
There many ways to support and nurture our winged friends:
Hummingbirds: Consider planting native flora that attract hummingbirds or offering hummingbird food in a feeder. Learn more.
Moths: Most moths are nocturnal, so considering reducing the use of exterior lights at night. Learn more.
Butterflies: Plant pollinator-friendly plants and offer water sources in shallow dishes. Learn how to help the endangered Monarch Butterfly.