Photos: What I think is a Blue-Eyed Darner (Rhionaeschna multicolor) I pulled out of the moss. And, my favorite, my fingers, the dragonfly having flown the microsecond before I snapped the photo.
Staying with friends near Ridgway, Colorado, I took a walk through tall perfect grasses down to an irrigation pond, looking for dragonflies. The water level of the pond had dropped as it was lined with mud and a beautiful band of yellow moss created a bright circumference, ten feet wide, a brilliant contrast to the deep green center. In my excitement I didn’t pause to let the ether settle I startled the large darners hovering at the edge. One, flying too low caught its front left wing in the yellow moss, and was dragged down. There it laid, frantically drumming its free wings against the moss. I panicked hearing the vibrating sound of the dying dragonfly. I had to do something to save it, especially since I may have been responsible. I thought about stripping down and swimming out through the moss to the dragonfly thrashing ten feet out. Or could I find something long enough to reach out and possible drag the dragonfly to shore. I was thinking that some nearby tall dry reeds might work, when I saw what looked like a long length of white plastic pipe. It had been there a while based on the new growth tangled around it. I pulled it free and found a rake attached to the end, which seemed like a miracle. But then didn’t Einstein say ‘everything is a miracle or nothing is’? I’m committed to the ‘everything option’ (Thank you my friend, Michael Richardson). I was able to push the rake end through the moss and then twist and maneuver it underneath the struggling dragonfly and pull it and the moss chunk that trapped it to shore. As it continued struggling, I carefully pulled the stuck forewing from the muck, as its other wings beat softly against my hand. After a tedious minute delicately pulling the stuck wing, it finally came free. I noticed a slight tear near the pterostigma. The dragonfly, a magnificent blue and black darner with the blue pearled eyes sat on my fingers, cleaning itself, testing its wings. I was able to snap a few pictures before it flew off.