13 August 2009

Dragon Dogfight

There's a war going on outside. In this case, it's World War One.

Enormous squadrons of dragonflies fly above the tree tops, darting back and forth, diving and climbing, hovering and dodging in every direction. From the vantage point of my upstairs window, it looks like a First World War dogfight. There must be fifty of them out there, at least. When they're in flight, dragonflies bear a resemblance to biplanes, with their upper and lower wings and long, tapered fuselage bodies. Somehow they remind me more of Fokker D-7s than Sopwith Camels, so I always associate dragonflies as being somehow Germanic.

I suppose they're simply picking mosquitoes out of the air, but I can't help imagining the drone of rotary engines and the rat-a-tat of machine guns. In somnolent Wang Tong, it makes for exciting entertainment.

You might expect me to compare the one in the photo with the Red Baron, its transparent wingtips looking like bullet-pierced canvas. But the dogfight combatants are mostly orange, while some have bodies which are luminous reddish-violet that fades to black at the tip. This magnificent red one was resting peacefully, far from the conflict, by the lotus pond.

What are you, red dragonfly: coward or conscientious objector?

photo by Cathy Tsang-Feign

1 comment:

  1. By strange coincidence as I read the last sentence a program started on the radio about WW2 conscientious objectors :)