#26 My Re-enchantment story



This is the same dragonfly from post #15, but I’ve learned something new.

Looking back to that day sitting on that dock watching dragonflies that day in Colorado wondering since it was a man-made pond which looked to have dropped in volume lately, and a two-meter swath of mustard colored moss formed the border between the deep green middle of the pond, and the steep shore. This moss seemed to be an algae bloom forming over the warmer water in the shallower edge of the pond. Cyanobacteria are often associated with algal blooms, turning the water toxic. Some cyanobacteria become airborne when breezes sweep across the pond’s surface. The erratic darting of the dozen darners patrolling the surface of the moss carpet in wide circles, suggested that they were hunting gnats too small for me to see. What if they were also pulling bacteria from the air with their wings? Recent advancement in microscope technology has exposed researchers to the nano-structures on each dragonfly wing. These ten billion ‘fingers’ trap air-borne bacteria with such a tight grip that the bacteria destroy themselves trying to escape.

One darner flew too close to the surface, the algae catching its left front wing and pulling it down. I was able to bring it to shore with a long pole. I delicately freed it from the algae and cleaned its wings which I didn’t know at the time, were covered with the tiny corpses of dangerous bacteria.



That Native Wisdom is directly related to ‘enchantment’ is something I’ve ‘known’ regardless of my ability to explain it. I recall early discussions about the different proposals to “Protect Greater Canyonlands”. On hearing Jonah Yellowman tell stories about the area with such impact and depth, I thought that this is different. Protecting this area is no longer just about scenic beauty, outdoor recreation, and biodiversity, it’s about all that Euro-Americans can learn from Native people about sacred places and indigenous knowledge. “It is time”, I kept hearing over and over, the truth of which grows greater and greater.

The entire environmental community coalesced around the Native Proposal which became Bears Ears National Monument.

I struggle with ‘cultural appropriation’ because I was accused of it while creating a class for college students. Lately, however, I’m more comfortable acknowledging my need to better understand this native knowledge, as it is definitely “enchanted” in the same way that our white patriarchal culture is ‘disenchanted’.

This past Monday was Indigenous People’s Day and like everyone, I saw dozens of references, all of which were important to me. This one stood out. John Trudell says something important that we all need to incorporate….that we all have Native Roots. So many of our current problems result from the fact that those of us in power have cut ourselves off from our roots. Re-connecting to our deepest roots is how to ‘re-enchant’ our lives, and a giant step in human survival.



Earlier this summer, I noticed something struggling in the center of a Rabbit Brush bush. A grasshopper seemed tangled in twigs and leaves. Although I don’t need more grasshoppers, I reached in to help it. I discovered that it was being held in the grasp of praying mantis. As I was working on this book hoping to understand my dragonfly dream, this creature jolted my memory of the book, The Mantis Carol, by Laurens van der Post. I only recalled that after a mantis appeared in a dream, one appeared physically to the now-awake dreamer. I rushed out to the library hoping to find that book but couldn’t. Last month, I found a copy of The Mantis Carol on our son, Louis’ bookshelf in Virginia and re-read it. In short, Martha Jaeger, an American psychologist has many dreams in which a praying mantis appears. While searching for meaning from professional colleagues across the world, she was sent one of van der Post’s books on the Bushmen of the Kalahari. She read it feeling of she’d been there already and “noted with a sudden inrush of hope all that I’d written about the praying mantis, how….it still was, the god of the Bushmen of southern Africa.” For months, she and van der Post corresponded about her dreams, agreeing to meet on his next trip to America. After many unrelated stops, van der Post arrived in Houston, Texas where Jaeger met him at the train station. At her house, as she turned to unlock the front door, “……she drew back in alarm, gasping. ‘What on earth is that sitting there?’”

“I looked”, van der Post writes. “There in an attitude of profound contemplation, as if waiting for a temple door to open, sat a large Praying Mantis.” She had never seen one before.

Somehow, this book plays a key role in understanding my dream. What if this statement from the Mantis Carol applies to my dream?

“First, there was one great fact of the history of human imagination to be taken into consideration of all this. Everywhere at all times, in all cultures, in all races of which we have record, when the greatest meaning, the highest value of life men called their gods of god, needed renewal and increase through life on earth, it began the process through a dream.”


Photo: Broad-Bodied Chaser/Monk’s House/Rodmel, England.
Today, I was writing about being at Monk’s House, where Virginia Woolf lived with family and friends, where her ashes are scattered. I realized exactly where they were scattered because in this enchanted world, an amazing dragonfly, a Broad-bodied Chaser, flew circles around it. (Dragonflies carry the souls of the dead, so this makes sense.) There was more to it today, as I thought back to the situation. I realized that Virginia Woolf may have something for me today. As I thought about what that might be, I recalled her short story, Kew Gardens. This story is her stream of consciousness about people visiting a particular flowerbed in this famous London Garden. A man and his wife walked by the flower bed, the man recalling years before when he spent the day trying to convince unsuccessfully, his lover to marry him. At one point a dragonfly appeared. “And my love, my desire, were in the dragonfly; for some reason I thought that if it settled there, on that leaf, the broad one with the red flower in the middle of it, if the dragonfly settled on the leaf she would say ‘Yes’ at once. But the dragonfly went round and round: it never settled anywhere.” How did that dragonfly ‘know’ that that man and woman should not marry? I only ask because in my enchanted world, dragonflies bring messages from the inner world, from non-ordinary reality. Perhaps that’s what the dragonfly in Virginia Woolf’s story was doing, bringing a message from the inner world, a message that the man in the story didn’t like.

#22 my Re-Enchantment Story

I took these photos of spreadwings on a rope hanging from a massive cottonwood tree at the town pond this time last year. Terry and Louis, our son from Rwanda, and I were there having a picnic. They were the only dragonflies I saw that day, and the last of the year. Technically, spreadwings are of the suborder, Zygoptera(damselflies). This and Anisoptera (dragonflies) are the two suborders of the order Odonata which with butterflies, bees, mosquitos and a dozen other orders, make up Insecta, a key branch on the Tree of Life. With their big blue eyes and slender abdomens, spreadwings do seem more like damselflies than dragonflies. Except that they don’t perch with their wings closed, paralleled back along their abdomens, the main trait differentiating damselflies and dragonflies. Instead, they hold their wings spread out, relaxed, but not perpendicular or angled forward like Anisoptera. To me they seem to occupy their own suborder. These can only be Great Spreadwings (Archilestes grandis) because they are a) indeed ‘great’, b) larger by far than any other spreadwing or damselfly species at 60 mm in length; and c) known to be common in southeastern Utah this time of year. I’d only ever seen them late like this, and only hanging from low lying willows, never from a rope. Although I didn’t see them fly that day, my impression is that they are more gangly in flight, not as precise as other Odonates.
At the pond yesterday, there were no spreadwings. Due perhaps to the short but intense thunderstorm, there were no insects or birds. I thought back to last year. I’d photographed the spreadwings on the rope and we’d relaxed and began to snack, when Louis screamed ‘snake’. I’m not kidding, he shrieked, shattering the silence.He thought he saw a snake in the water. Having grown up in Rwanda where snakes kill people, instinctually responding to one is a survival mechanism. Humans have always encountered poisonous snakes and respond instinctually to them. Humans have always encountered dragonflies and respond instinctually to them. The difference may be that a life-saving instinct is stronger. I’m trying to figure this out.

#21 My Re-enchantment Story


Photo: This dragonfly—an unfamiliar meadowhawk, I think—was caught in a spider web on the fence lining the elevated walkway running through Tuckahoe Creek Park in Henrico, Virginia, near where our son, Louis Gakumba, lives with his kiddos, Malka and Sheja (age 6 and 4). I thought the dragonfly was dead until I pulled it from the spider web (I didn’t see a spider and the web was disheveled and seemed to be no longer in use.) The dragonfly started moving in my hand, struggling to free itself from the silk strands. Its damaged wings were stuck together and once I was able to pull them apart, it began moving around as if it might fly off. I placed it on the top of a post and watched it for a few minutes as it frantically tried to clear the web strands from its eyes. I left it there and when we came back 30 minutes later, it was gone. Either it flew off or fell into the creek. This is a spectacular and wild place. Besides hearing (according to our Merlin App) 27 bird species (including a barred owl and many red-shouldered hawks, seeing a pileated wood pecker and great egret, we saw numerous mushrooms (definitely some Destroying Angels—Amanita–I call all the ghostly white Amanitas “Destroying Angels, although I think only one actual species has that as a common name), and some perfect orbed webs, one with a small spider centered in it.  I made notes on five different dragonflies I saw. 1) large darner, blue green eyes, dark abdomen; 2) smaller with green thorax and green and brown abdomen; 3) skimmer (?) with black head and eyes, purplish abdomen; 4) skimmer with blue eyes, pruinose abdomen, perhaps a blue dasher.  I’ll look them up later.

#19 My Re-enchantment story


Photo: My friend, @kelindquist thinks this might be a female blue dasher.

A few days ago, before breakfast with friends, I wandered out into their field. In my dragonfly trance, I found myself gravitating toward the pond in the distance. Had I not been there before, I might not have known there was a pond behind the thick wall of new growth from an entire summer of rain.  That I couldn’t immediately find the entrance to the dock I knew was there was the first psychic clue I ignored, telling me that the pond was off limits. I wanted to see what action might be taking place on the pond’s surface. (I’d been on that dock a dozen times, always seeing a few different species of damsels, not to mention ducks and once a great blue heron.) The second clue was the massive curtain made of spider webs I had to cut through with my hands. Then shoulder-high wet grasses which soaked me. The final obstacle was a fence made of horizontal branches of young white pines woven together. I’d pushed through each of these challenges and stepped down onto the dock, which let out a loud creak, as if surprised by my presence. A mallard took off from inside the shadow at the far edge. Thousands of silvery water bugs spun circles in the center of the pond. As expected, two bright blue damsels patrolled the pond off the end of the dock. Although the dock seemed fine, some warning bells went off as I stepped onto its rotting surface. Testing each step, I crept to the end for a good glimpse of the damsels, to which I recently committed to learning more about. (Are they dancers? Or bluets?). Turning to go back, I felt secure enough to let my guard down. As I transferred my weight onto my right leg during my second step, I broke through, crashing into the void. My left leg collapsed beneath me and my knee cracked like a giant knuckle, the sound of breaking adhesions from my many surgeries. Or so I hoped. Writhing in pain I struggled to pull my soaked right leg back through the jagged hole I’d made in the rotten dock. I limped to breakfast and have been limping since. My knee is swollen and black and blue. I’ll ice it for a week before seeing a doctor. I ignored the warnings.

#18 My Re-enchantment story


Terry’s photo from yesterday of a large snapping turtle.

My re-birthday. Not my birthday marking the day my mom pushed me out and I took my first breaths. But a year since my heart surgery marked not just a transition but a new beginning. Which somehow it did. Terry asked first thing this morning, what, after a year, this has meant. She added that she feels that I’m a bit more ‘dreamy’. This makes sense. While for the past few years I’ve felt the presence of my ‘inner’ life, whatever membrane existed between it and my outer life has now all but disappeared. In April, my surgical team sent a six-month survey of multiple-choice questions post-surgery, to get a sense of how I felt. The most important question was “if you knew that how you feel today would be the best you would feel for the rest of your life, would that be Great, Ok, not great, bad?” I marked “OK”. Today, if asked the same question, I’d mark, ‘great.’ But also ‘grateful’.

Driving through Acadia late yesterday, we came up a hill and noticed cars pulled over. Something was in the road. We first thought a beaver or otter had been hit. Getting closer, it was a giant snapping turtle. Knowing how vicious a snapping turtle can be, we got as close as we could and still feel safe. It didn’t move. Other than having retracted its right front leg, it didn’t seem injured. As we had a rental car, I had no shovel or blanket to help move it off of the road. Terry called 911 and was transferred to the Park Service. As I crouched in front of it and we, the snapping turtle and I, looked at each other. She (we believe that she was looking for a place to lay her eggs) followed me with her eyes. I asked her what we should do, still thinking that she might be injured. While Terry talked to the Park Service, the turtle stood up, made a sharp left turn and moved quickly toward the water. She seemed a bit unsteady, but made her way to the edge of the road and down the trail of bent grass she’d made earlier, disappearing into the water. There are no coincidences, only synchronicities. Not for a second did I think that finding that snapping turtle in the middle of the road was a random event.

#17 My Re-enchantment Story

Photo: A Meadowhawk. Note the tiny bumps covering his eyes—‘facets’, I believe.

Dennis Paulsen, my dragonfly mentor, once told me that the more he learns about dragonflies the more enchanted the world becomes. Experimentation, testing, analysis of natural phenomenon does not lead to ‘disenchantment’. We cannot explain away all the magic, no matter how much we learn. Knowing how the sun sets does not make a sunset any less ‘enchanting’. Today, for me, it’s dragonfly eyes. If our eyes were proportionally the same size as theirs, we would have the equivalence of cantaloupes on the sides of our head. I’d been reading descriptions and looking at diagrams when I found myself inside the eye of a meadowhawk bathing in gauze-filtered light. The gauze was actually rhabdoms, thousands of impossibly tiny filaments vibrating with energy. These connect the lens which sits beneath the facet on the eye’s surface, and the crystalline cone to the fiber optic nerves in the center. This ‘system’ is known as the “ommatidium” (l love saying that outloud). There are 30,000 of these systems in a meadowhawk’s eye, each acting independently of the others.

A tiny gnat passes.

Since the surface of the dragonfly’s eye is curved, each facet ‘sees’ the gnat from a slightly different perspective, and each ommatidium system carries a unique minuscule atom of information—color, speed, direction, context, and more—through the rhabdom filament to the fiber optic nerve. The information accumulates in the dragonfly’s brain where multi-dimensional, 360-degree reality is formed. The dragonfly responds. There’s so much more I want to learn about this, so stay tuned.

#16 My Re-enchantment Story


Photo. After mating a different Blue-Eyed Darner laid in the moss. We were wrong, thinking he was dead.

A month after emerging from the water where he’d been the past four years, the Meadowhawk spent his days hunting gnats and looking for a mate. Today, the competition was fierce, more males patrolling the pond than females. The chances of finding a lone female were slim compared to interrupting a liaison between an existing couple. He’d prepared by translocating his sperm from his genital pore, an opening near the end of his abdomen (the ninth of ten segments) to his penis in the second segment. Then, in the distance, a perfect female attracted his full attention. That a different male was attached to the back of her head and that they flew across the pond in tandem, did not dissuade him. He launched a surprise attack aimed midway along the enemy abdomen with enough force to break the bond connecting them. He then circled back above her and pulling up short, grabbed her head with his cerci-tipped abdomen, and guided her away. In safe space he maneuvered beneath her. She then grasped his abdomen just in front of where it attached to her head and guided the tip of hers toward his sperm filled penis. They touched. She liked how he fit and how he felt and they clamped into place. He would transfer his sperm from his penis through her vagina via her genital pore into her bursa copulatrix, where she stores the results of her most recent coupling. But first, he used the flagellum attached to his penis to scrape away sperm that might be left from her previous ‘encounter’, increasing his chances that his genetics get passed on. Finished, his abdomen still attached to the back of her head, they fly off across the pond.  Her eggs drop down through the oviduct in her abdomen. Then she chooses. She directs her eggs to be fertilized into either her bursa or her spermatheca containing older sperm from many different males. In tandem she and her mate fly low across the pond dropping one just-fertilized egg each time she taps the surface with the tip of her tail.

#15 My Re-enchantment story


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.

#14 My Re-Enchantment Story

Photo: A magnificent Flame Skimmer which seems to have been attacked, possibly by a bird. Although his wing muscles are exposed, he flew off undaunted.

First, one lone Great Mossy Darner. Within a minute, two meadowhawks and an unknown (I really need to learn the damsels) dancer on the short twigs poking through the pond’s surface. I sat and with my tripod (elbows on knees) began watching. The darner came straight at me, its  head on a direct line as its body cut right. The opposite of a ‘head fake’, the head reacting slower than its body. (The ocelli, their ‘third eye’, directly controls the wings, bypassing the brain. Dragonfly head: follow the body or fall off. Not much of a choice.)

I thought of other flyers, bees for example: slow, methodical, ambling in short bursts flower to flower. Wasps, erratic, like happy children, loving speed and power. Butterflies, delicate, their wings fragile, as if too many flaps might break them. They use their wings to move vertically, saving them on the horizontal. Grasshopper, such a ruckus! hysterically launching then crash landing, tumbling to a stop. Dragonflies, so powerful, controlled, and surgical in flight. Not one wasted movement.

Compared to darners, meadowhawks made more vertical adjustments. The Flame skimmers, always shockingly present) seemed directed in flight, in constant transit, on call.

A new Darner appeared, also male. Competition?  As if choregraphed, they tumbled and lunged and wove together a meter above the pond’s surface. Both their ocelli working, they vibrated from attack to retreat like nerves firing. To the south, a male Widow Skimmer spread on a sunflower stalk, the whites on its backlit wings glowing in the sun. (No ragged wings of the one I saw Sunday).  Then a Twelve-spotted skimmer perched on a twig four feet away. It stayed like the gift I always wanted. Between the dark spots on its wings (three on each, times four wings equals twelve total spots) in each white transparent space a strange shadow vibrated in dappled light. Three meadowhawk pairs oviposited on a moss raft, mid pond, and one pair of dancers. The distant widow skimmer didn’t move for twenty minutes, but then, neither did I.

#13 My Re-enchantment story


Photo: my first Widow Skimmer of the season. Quite beat up, wingwise, which didn’t seem to affect his flight. He did seem to rest a lot, when compared to the two others I watched.

Seeing the Widow Skimmer yesterday at the town pond was just one element of an incredible day, which didn’t begin that way. At all. I started around ten, up the trailhead across from the fire station, past Castle Rock, up to the Professor Valley Overlook, down past Queen the Erotic Juniper, and out. Then I crossed Loop Road, and headed across the rocks, through the dead cheatgrass, between sage, to the north end of the pond. Nothing. Not a gnat, let alone a dragonfly. Absence as presence. I couldn’t believe it. I walked south along the east edge to the outlet gate and sat down in the dirt.  Finally, a Great Mossy Darner appeared, alone. Then two meadowhawks and then and then. And then one of the great dragonfly days ever.

I’ve often thought that a mysterious substance must exist, a dimensional ether, semi-tangible, that my simple existence disrupted, reverberated, sending all the beings into hiding. Once I’d settled in the ether calmed and smoothed, reconstituted. Peace returned to the pond.

Then dozens of Verigated Meadowhawks ovipositing (the males attached to the back of the female’s head as she tapped the pond’s surface to drop an eggs—If she drops one egg each time she ‘taps’ the surface, she left 50 eggs/minute during one period.) A pair of tiny damselflies was also there laying eggs. Three male Widow Skimmers passed in front of me involved in a spectacular dance (battle?). As always, Great Mossy Darners seemed to be on patrol, on the lookout for any possible danger. And the Flame Skimmers! OMG, my first of the year, three of them, no questions asked. The height to which a dragonfly rises is proportional to its size, which makes sense. The darners reach ten meters, higher than the powerline which crosses the pond. The meadowhawks, two to three meters. The tiny bluets, inches.

I’d struggled wondering why I’d seen so few dragonflies at the pond this summer. Now, I think that the extremely wet winter and spring may have delayed their ‘flight seasons’.

#12 My Re-enchantment story


Photo: Night before last, just before dark.

A few days ago I read that a recent poll showed that 7 of 10 people believe in angels. (https://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2023/08/01/do-you-believe-angels-about-7-10/) Last year, 81% of those asked said they believe in ‘God’, down 6 points from 2017. Of those, 58% said that the god they believed in was the one described in the Old Testament (older White male, long beard, keeps track of everything we do all day, makes judgements, and intervenes when asked). 98% of those who say they believe in God, angels, devil, etc. attend weekly religious services. Earlier (https://brookewilliams.site/2-my-re-enchantment-story-july-3-2023/) I referred to the book, The Myth of Disenchantment. The “myth” as nearly as I can tell in this very academic book, is that the world has never been disenchanted because people still believe in spirits and angels and god, etc. I struggle with this definition of enchantment because so much of it is tied up in and based on modern religion. It has nothing to do with evolution, which I believe is inherent in enchantment, and vice versa. In Utah many people believe in the biblical God, in angels and devils and attend church weekly. These people are mostly Mormons. A Pew poll shows that 81% of Mormons believe either that humans have always existed in our current form, or that we’ve evolved via a God-designed process. Mormons, in their “weekly religious services” are taught that we live according to a well-defined plan, that the past, present, and future are all known. If indeed life is “enchanted”, it is in a very ‘convergent’ way—that everything about it ‘converges’ on a “truth” revealed through Mormon prophets. This is different from ‘enchantment’ as I’m coming to understand it, a much more open ended, ‘divergent’ version.  Enchantment is not the controlled belief in some biblically predicted outcome, but like evolution, is the ability to adapt to any changing conditions. Enchantment, I think, is based on an all-pervading and perpetual force for good in the universe.

#11 My Re-Enchantment Story


Webs lingering from last night.

Yesterday, I zoomed into my first meeting as a member of the board of the Center for Humans and Nature.  (Check https://humansandnature.org) I met Brooke Hecht, the Executive Director at a conference a few years ago and have since been to a few gatherings. Broadly speaking the organization fosters our understanding of and relationship with nature. It was founded in 2003 by Strachan Donnelley (1942-2008) who saw himself as a “fly fishing philosopher”. He worried that the environmental movement wasn’t big enough or all-inclusive enough to deal with the size of the challenges facing us. His goal with the “Center” was to bring together a full spectrum of big thinkers—economists and ecologists, to philosophers and poets—to move the level of discourse to the understanding that we are nature and until we embody that, our survival chances are slim. During private conversations, Brooke H. and I have whispered about shamanism and animal helpers and plant magic and native wisdom, and under her subtle guidance, the Center is beginning to embrace this greater world, this ‘enchanted world.” So, it was synchronicity (not coincidence) that within days of my committing to ‘my mission’ to contribute to the re-enchantment of the world, that Brooke H. called to invite me onto her board. I knew this was a perfect step along my new path when in the minutes from the last board meeting I read that organization wants to expand beyond typical scientific thinking and explore important possibilities that are now discounted by the mainstream. That the center can help bridge these gaps. Lately, I’ve often said that while I greatly value proven science I respect and trust many alternative ways of thinking and that my work is to build a bridge between these.  The “Center” is located on 50 acres in Libertyville, Illinois, near Chicago. It currently has a publication arm (I have story in this https://humansandnature.org/kinship/ ), a farm which is on track to commercially grow food and medicinal herbs, and facilities for workshops and conferences. I’ve rarely been with a group of people that seemed so committed to the greater good. Stay tuned.

#10- My Re-enchantment story


This past week, between a number of meaningful and exciting and thought-provoking social interactions, I’ve pecked away at what might become the introduction to my dragonfly book. I’d been working to describe an Verigated Meadowhawk’s emergence after spending from its nymph case. (Dragonflies have ‘incomplete metamorphosis’, going from egg to nymph directly to adult—no pupae, as butterflies do, for example.) I’ve witnessed different stages of this in nature and watched completely on YouTube. Synchronistically, while visiting dear friends whose yard and pond is a dragonfly haven, I saw the newly born adult near an empty case, there on a vertical stone wall. (The dragonfly in the photo isn’t a Verigated, but a Band-Winged, which I’ve not seen before. Twelve spotted Simmers, Great Mossy Darners, fluttered among the Meadowhawks. I read that spiders soon inhabit empty nymph cases.)  Here’s what I’ve written so far. (As nearly as I can tell from the colors, the young meadowhawk was male.)

            “As if dead, the Meadowhawk nymph had hung motionless for hours from the sedge, when his abdomen began vibrating, then pulsed, then waved with new life.  No longer able to withstand the growing pressure, his back split open, his still forming body oozing through the slit. Bowing his back, he freed new dragonfly eyes from behind the shell-like protection of his nymph eyes. Bending more his head popped from its case, and he stared skyward. Then two legs flicked free, rising as if in prayer, pawing the air. Then two more and two more. Next, wing nubs like leaf buds came through the opening, stuck to his new sides.  Like yoga, as he bent gracefully back, his abdomen began slipping wet from its casing. There he hung, upside down, faint, between worlds. Angelic.  After for an hour he lunged forward grabbing his now empty casing with his new legs and flicked his abdomen free. Perched on his now empty case, his wing nubs grew, inflating and unfolding as internal fluids flowed through the networked wing-veins. His abdomen lengthened, straightened, then firmed. His colors deepened, wings stiffened. Then he rested, complete. After ten minutes, he tested his firm, dry wings, quivered, and flew”.


#9 My Re-enchantment story


I took the photo last night around 8. The temperature hovered still, around 100. I wonder how heat affects the color of light.

Years ago, during my obsession with Richard Jefferies leading up to the book Terry and I did together, rediscovering The Story of My Heart, I came across the book, Cosmic Consciousness, By Maurice Bucke. In it, Bucke writes about his relationship with Walt Whitman and comes to believe that he, Whitman, had ‘cosmic consciousness’ (CC).  I believe I read in his book, that Bucke felt that Whitman had saved his life. I wasn’t sure why or how. Bucke, defines CC as “a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by the ordinary man”. Using Whitman as an example, Bucke more or less quantifies the attributes aligned with CC and includes biographies of people he determined also possess it. Jesus, Gandhi, Mohammad, Buddha, are included, among others. Jefferies, Bucke thought, might have achieved CC had he lived longer (Jefferies died at age 39.) Steve Jobs, Alan Watts, often referred to Bucke’s book. For me, there’s something to it. Since it’s now occupying enough of my time, I need to follow it into whatever rabbit hole it takes me. First thing I did, was learn about “Beautiful Dreamers” a 1990 movie  about Bucke’s and Whitman’s relationship. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lap-qPUMlOg). I loved the movie, which centers around Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”, which was banned when it was published for its “sexually charged poems” and probably is now by school districts across America. “There something for me in Leaves of Grass,” I thought. That I even found it in our library is a sign. Now, I’ll sit quietly for a few minutes, clear my mind, then open the book to the passage I need. Page 265 (In this particular edition/every edition is different). Here’s the line: “Be not disheartened, affection shall solve the problems of freedom, yet, those who love each other shall become invincible.” Although Whitman was writing about the Civil War I think, this certainly applies to me, now. “Affection” and “love” and becoming “invincible”. I need to remember this. “Cosmic Consciousness” and “enchantment” must somehow be related.

#8 My Re-enchantment Story

Photo: The Mantis and the Grasshopper. I once gathered blue paint chips to make my own cyanometer to document the different colors of the sky. Now I think I’ll start collecting colors of  green. This week, I was struck by two different and spectacular shades.

A few years ago, I heard Wade Davis, the amazing writer, explorer, botanist, talk about what he’s learned about ethno-botany. He showed a film about a recent trip he’d made to South America, in which he asked indigenous women living there how they knew the proper quantities of  the many different plants making up Ayahuasca, the psychoactive brew used in psychedelic, ceremonial, or shamanic experiences. “The plants told us,” the women said, matter-of-factly. Which helped me understand how throughout the world and across time, indigenous people have ‘known’ which plants have which medicinal qualities, which don’t, and which are fatal if ingested. I’d always wondered if some dangerous system of ‘trial and error’ had occurred, stories from which have been passed down through generations. Which is such a disenchanted way to look at it. Take datura from the nightshade family. They’ve been used forever as medicine, for ritual intoxication, but also poison. I mean, really, how many people died figuring out that one? Turns out when approached spiritually, the datura must have let the practitioner know which part of the plant and in what quantity to use for which specific purpose. There are likely 10,000 examples like this of “Indigenous Knowledge” that might be beneficial to us as we’re forced to face the coming relentless impacts of our warming planet. I wonder if the term  “enchanted” minimizes the power and grace of the lives indigenous people lived and continue to live, the lives all of our ancestors lived for tens of thousands of generations until modernity dis-enchanted our world, not that many centuries ago. I’ll keep using  ‘enchanted’ (along with ‘re-enchanted’). For me it’s become synonymous with ‘evolutionary’, referring to the way our species evolved to live. Which suggests that our ‘evolving’  as successfully into our future, as we’ve done in our past, requires ‘enchantment’.


#7 My Re-Enchantment Story


“In the afternoon I watch the clouds drift past the bald peak of Mount Tukuhnikivats. (Someone has to do it.)” Edward Abbey, Desert Solitare

Yesterday afternoon, while reading on the patio, drops of sweat dotting the pages,  I thought I’d check my email and oh, google a few things. Then I caught myself. One of the most exciting  assignments I gave my Colby College students (I teach January Semester there, most years) required them to once, during the weekend, catch themselves as they reached to check their phones. Instead, they were to look around and see what attracted their attention. I’m a big fan of Arnold Mindell, the author, teacher, and therapist, who developed Process Oriented Psychology. In my favorite book of his, “The Shaman’s Body”, he introduced a new idea of ‘flirting’. The idea is that things we encounter may ‘flirt’ with us, insist that we pay attention to them. This was the point of the Colby assignment. At any moment, if we stop what we’re doing and look around, we’ll find something that wants our attention, something that ‘flirts’ with us. When I think about it, instead of reaching for my computer, I try to sit up straight and look around. Yesterday, on the patio in the heat, one beautiful particular cloud grabbed my attention. I watched it for a while and noticed it ever-so-subtly changing, as clouds are prone to do. This needed documentation, I thought. I focused my phone/camera on that cloud and set my exercise timer for 30 second intervals. Starting at the top each photo is the cloud thirty seconds after the one preceding it.  Some changes more dramatic than others, that the cloud evolves irregularly. Amazing, eh? Since that cloud obviously flirted with me, I needed to wonder why. Clouds are important symbols. I discovered in fact, that having a cumulonimbus cloud flirt with you, or visit you in a dream has a different message than a cumulus cloud, which I believe, is the cloud I watched. (Cumulonimbus meaning dark and ominous and future turmoil. Cumulus, being puffy and white, symbolize creativity and imagination. Playfulness.) After finding this information, I looked back up and my cloud had disappeared.


#6 My Re-Enchantment Story

A robber fly feeds on a cabbage moth on the arm of a chair. The Asilidae are the robber fly family, also called assassin flies. I think the Moth is Pieris rapae is a small- to medium-sized species of the family Pieridae.

A few years ago, I discovered the work of Henri Corbin, a French philosopher who focused on Islamic knowledge and spirituality. He believed that the imagination is how best to engage the creation, and coined the term “imaginal”. “Imaginal” refers to a realm between reality (body) and spirit. (Less dense than the physical world, but more than the spiritual world.) Corbin was careful to keep his new word “imaginal” separate from “imaginary” which about fantasy and making things up. The Imaginal world is very real. It’s where we find meaning in the physical world, where we connect natural phenomena to their symbols. My dragonfly obsession began when I dreamed about one, after which I began encountering them wherever I went. The physical world mixed with my dream world. I discovered the “Imaginal realm” and Corbin while trying to make sense of that dragonfly in my dream. Now they not only fascinate me as physical material wild beings, but as archetypes and symbols, the subject of stories told across the world and across time. I realized, on further inquiry, that I must be an “Imaginal ecologist”, or one who ‘does’ Imaginal Ecology.” In his essay “Imaginal Ecology”* Kevin Richtscheid wrote, “When we recognize that an ecological movement that focuses solely on the material aspect of things is subject to the limitations of a materialistic paradigm, we can realize the necessity to look beyond the outer shape of things, toward the imaginal, which is more ‘real’ if in its own way.” He feels that Imaginal ecology is not opposed to traditional ecology, but complementary. An “enchanted” world, it seems to me, encompasses the complete world consisting of the physical, imaginal, and spiritual dimensions. *http://www.sacredweb.com/online_articles/sw17_richtscheid.pdf

#5 My Re-Enchantment Story

(A Verigated Meadow Hawk cannot spread COVID. It is however the ‘messenger between worlds.”)

Yesterday, I tested positive for COVID. Not so surprising since Terry’s had it for two weeks since catching it at a wedding.  In ordinary or disenchanted reality, COVID seems to have originated in a Chinese market where both a “racoon-dog” and the virus were found. (Some of the latest findings are here: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-origins-wuhan-market-animals-raccoon-dogs/). A racoon-dog looks like it had a racoon for a mother and a small, longer -haired, terrier-type dog for a father.

A non-ordinary or enchanted reality may also exist. In her recent book, Harmonic Healing, Dr. Linda Lancaster, a homeopathic doctor we see in Santa Fe, wrote about viruses.  “The virus is connected to the ether, the most subtle of all elements. The ether and the etheric force fields of the earth are what we are talking about here. Viruses come in on the ether to give us information. But are we sovereign in ourselves to not only withstand and understand but also to *process* it? It is not something to be afraid of but something to be grateful for”. To give us information.

What information are we to be getting from COVID? Covid basically shut the world down for two years, killing millions while permanently altering the lives of billions. I’ve just spent an hour reading about the metaphysics of COVID. Here’s what resonated: Collectively, “a virus is a call to change our consciousness”. Catherine Carriagan, a medical intuitive, wrote this in March 2020, right as we started taking COVID seriously. Before COVID how many of us were already wondering “why does nothing make sense?”, or “how can we heal the divide in our country?” or “how do we confront climate change given the lack of political will?” Perhaps “changing our consciousness” answers these questions, but also “WHY did COVID start?” Anthony Fauci said when asked HOW COVID started, “We may not ever know precisely and definitively.”  Imagine if he knew that the COVID virus came in on the ether, bringing important information.

#4 My Re-enchantment

Enchanted has two different aspects. First is that I’m enchanted when I experience something so surprising or beautiful or exciting or breathtaking or or or…that I get lost momentarily, I lose myself. Or something is enchanted—a world, a life, a forest, a moment, an ‘evening’—when it has a ‘magical’ dimension, characteristics which science cannot explain, which is often subtle enough to simply shrug off as ‘cool’, which often involve synchronicity. That first feeling of being ‘enchanted’ may be the same as ‘awe’. Awe involves the shrinking self, being lost in some form of beauty. Experiencing ‘awe’ according to the writer/thinker/professor Dachar Keltner, encourages ‘pro-social behaviors’. The natural world, the wild world, is enchanted in that while much of the ongoing evolutionary process is understood and documented, so much is still unknown. Why wouldn’t experiencing firsthand an evolutionary process at work inspire awe, be enchanting? To me, being in awe while witnessing an event resulting from the most successful process the planet has ever known, makes total sense.  Watching the fall mating rituals of elk, a dragonfly emerging from its nymph case, a datura opening at night, etc. induces awe and is definitely enchanting. Do trees have spirits? Our ancestors felt that they did. How about rocks and springs and mountains, deemed sacred by Native people? Did Terry and I really witness a funereal experience when those bison in Lamar Valley reverently, rhythmically circled their wolf-killed matriarch? That was utterly enchanting, along with everything else. Being enchanted witnessing the enchanted world is one thing. It assumes perhaps that part of the world is enchanted once we see and experience it. But what if the entire world is enchanted, as Einstein alluded to when he wrote “Live your life as if nothing is a miracle or everything is a miracle.” I’ve tried imagining a world where ‘nothing is a miracle’,  where the only meaning is that which we’ve define, where we human knowledge is supreme, where everything has price but nothing has true value, and the only mystery has been kidnapped by religion and sold back to us. I can’t. Sun rising on wings, this morning


# 3 My Re-enchantment story

This past winter after committing to ‘my mission’!, I started dreaming up specific projects focused on re-enchantment. My book was—and still is—at the top of my list (how to tweek it to move more firmly in that direction. I now ‘know’ that I’ll know what needs to happen with it.) Mountainflim, the Telluride festival held Memorial Day, was on my list. I was invited last year to talk about my recent book, “Mary Jane Wild” (Homebound, 2021), but I had a conflict and couldn’t go. “Next year,” the organizers said. This year, I was invited to participate on a panel at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning. Joining me would be @JedidiahJenkins, a young, exciting and best-selling writer, along with someone soon to be named. I figured that besides the panelists, there might be oh, four people there at that early hour, for the free coffee. Fine, I thought, remembering that this is no longer about me, but re-enchantment. Which was the subject I’d proposed to talk about. Jedidiah and I communicated about getting together ahead of time, but we couldn’t make it happen. We decided just to wing it. “I’m excited to talk about re-enchantment,” he said. ‘Re-enchantment’ was not just what I’d be talking about, but had somehow become the main point of the panel.  When Jedidiah and I met Sunday morning, I felt an immediate connection. James Balog, the brilliant photographer who’d made the memorable climate film, Chasing Ice, was the third panelist. Soon, the room overflowed with people. The three of us talked about re-enchantment for an hour. Then people asked questions and told stories about re-enchantment. When it ended people stood around to talk more about re-enchantment. The entire experience was one of re-enchantment—proof. While Jedidiah’s presence was largely responsible for the large crowd, a hundred people went away wondering about their own re-enchantmented lives in ways they hadn’t before. Which, I realized is ‘my mission’. I couldn’t have planned this. But I didn’t need to. It’s out of my hands.

(This ragged Swallowtail perches on a Mimosa Tree at Erik and Darin’s place across the field.)

# 2A My Re-Enchantment Story

#2 B. More background.

The root of this goes back three decades. I was in a writing workshop led by that great Montana writer and teacher and friend, William Kittredge. He said, “my job is to help my students find that one story they’ll tell over and over again the rest of their life.” “How boring is that?” I recall thinking. Now looking back, I realize that’s exactly what I’ve done. As long as I’ve written, I’ve told basically one story, this story: We moderns are living in bodies that remain physically unchanged since the Pleistocene. Most of our problems may stem from trying to make these old bodies work in a world that is vastly different from that for which evolution designed us. For much of my life, I responded to this story by writing about how wildness contributes to our own evolution, wild places as the site of our evolution. How more time in wild places must keep us tapped into our evolutionary powers, which have guaranteed our species’ success for 250K years. “Re-Enchantment” aligns with “my story” in that it is, I believe, an element in our evolutionary body, an important dimension of our evolutionary success.

I’m in the office writing this and I glance at the books at eye level on the shelf. There, as if trying to fall off of the shelf is “Taking Care—Thoughts on Storytelling and Belief” by William Kittredge. It is still in the cellophane, unopened, brand new. It is one of two copies we have of this book, the other many shelves above this one with all of his other books. In the enchanted world there are no coincidences, only synchronicities. I’ll sit for a minute, then open it randomly (?) and point. In the Chapter “Learning to Think” Kittredge writes about a mentor warning him about writers who teach and the “prospect of uttering halfway non-sensical abstractions and watching students copy them down.” And “the possibility of coming to believe your own bullshit.” Kittredge must have listened. I sense, however, that he always ‘knew’. I always felt that what Kittredge said—and wrote—came from a deep place in the ground. He listened to his mentor and I listened to mine. But I’m well aware that the mentor’s advice might, right now, be meant for me.


#2 My Re-Enchantment Story



“Enchantment” is one of those words that seems to have come standard with our brains because, like you, I can’t think back far enough to a time when I didn’t assume to know what the term meant. That changed for me in 2018 during one of the many lectures I attended at the Center for The Study of World Religions at Harvard, where we lived part time. I realized that prior to my time there, I acquired knowledge by asking questions and then finding answers. There during those lectures, I collected answers to questions I had yet to ask.  During that lecture, Jason Ā. Josephson-Storm, discussed his book, The Myth of Disenchantment. I realized that the term ‘enchantment’ had more dimensions than I knew about.


I went on to discover that for most of human history, the entire world was enchanted. Native people understand this. Our early ancestors believed in gods who controlled time and weather. They performed critical rituals and played bone games to see the future. The dead were buried with what they would need in the next world. Stones, trees, springs and mountains were all inspirited. Humans knew they were but one species among many. Everything was alive. Modernity changed this when “enlightened” (mostly) white (mostly men) people assumed that they were exalted beings. We thrived on power. Power came from wealth and wealth came from having, extracting, accumulating more than we individually needed, and selling the surplus. We turned wild sources into natural re-sources. Wild nature required ‘de-spiriting’ before it could be commodified.  We could not de-forest landscapes for lumber to build houses, temples, and forts without first eliminating the tree spirits. Which we did with a simple shift in point of view. Then came carbon—coal then oil—dug and drilled—extracted–from the beneath the earth’s surface, burned to fuel our newly industrialized lives. The commodification and burning of carbon is now known to be responsible for the most serious threat to life on earth in human history. If disenchantment is at the root of biggest problem we’ve ever faced, then could re-enchantment be part of the solution?



# 1: My Re-enchantment Story.

“#1 of what?” I wasn’t sure either until yesterday. Exactly ten months ago, having closed me up after performing open heart surgery on me, Dr. Sharma found Terry in the waiting room and asked her, “why is he not dead?” Hearing this later freaked me out. Now, after walking a hundred miles recovering, therapy sessions, meditation, and consultations with astrologers and the I-Ching, I know the real reason I’m not dead: I still have work to do.

First, I assumed that since I was still alive that I must be doing the work I didn’t die in order to do, unsure of exactly what that was. This worked for a few months. Then, I started wondering what specific work I’m supposed to be doing.

Many of you familiar with my IG know that I post photos of dragonflies and the red colors the setting sun leaves on the cliffs across the valley. I’ve documented my ‘dragonfly encounters’ for nearly two decades. I’ve gathered these into a book which I’m nearly ready to submit for publication. After reading a recent digital draft of it an editor I greatly respect said, “I searched your book and found only one reference to ‘re-enchantment’.” She said, “it seems like that is what it’s really all about.”  Although I hadn’t thought about it, I knew she was right.

Now, I’ve discovered that not only is my dragonfly book about ‘re-enchantment’, but so is my work, the work I’m still alive to do.  I now wonder if ‘re-enchantment’ might be the antidote to human extinction. Realizing that this might be true comes with big responsibility.

Say I’m right. Then what better work could I be doing that spreading seeds of re-enchantment as far and wide as possible, confident that they’ll sprout and grow? Based on what I’m learning, this is simple.  Re-enchantment isn’t changing anything but our point of view. The earth has never NOT been enchanted. Re-enchanting our lives is remembering this and living accordingly.

I’m not completely sure of what this means, but I’m learning. I’ll be posting information that I find and hear and dream that helps me re-enchant my own life. And I hope you’ll post stories about your own enchantment.

I’ll keep posting photos I find enchanting.

Stay tuned.


I’ve neglected my website for a year. It’s been nearly a year since discovering and surgically (September 1st last year) dealing with my clogged coronary arteries. While my abandoning website and dealing with my heart correlate time-wise, my heart issues may have caused, been responsible for my ignoring my website. I’m back to it now, not because I now have the time and space to deal more responsibly with it, but because I need it for my new work. In short, my new work is ‘re-enchantment’. Here’s a short description of what I mean.

My Work

I’ve had this uncanny sense that I’m entering a new phase of my recovery from open heart surgery last September. Like a baby bird in a nest high in a tree, I won’t know if I can fly until I step out into the unknown void. For me, the void is where I’ll find the next answer to the question, “why is he not dead?”, the ‘he’ being me. Immediately after completing my surgery, Dr. Sharma, my heart surgeon went to the area where Terry had been waiting for eight hours. His first words were, “why is he not dead?” This referred to the unexpectedly serious condition (my ‘widow maker’ artery 100% blocked) he’d discovered once he’d seen inside me. The first answer to this question has to do with the physical—collaterals, those tiny thread-like arteries that a heart in an active body makes to guarantee that it has all the blood it needs. While I’ve known that my passion for moving around in wild places has defined and enhanced my life, I didn’t know that it was saving it.  You can imagine the level of relief that came with knowing this. Within weeks, this relief turned into the trauma of ‘what if?’ This was not the trauma of death itself, which I’m not very afraid of, but of possibly dying in an inconvenient place at an inconvenient time for those who care about me.  What if, for example, my heart had attacked me on one of the many obscure routes along which I regularly wander, never another soul around. Or What if I’d collapsed last spring one that long stairway out of that back alley in Athens, on the shortcut I regularly used to walk back to our hotel? A few months of nightmares, reading, and talking—to those closest to me and to a therapist, and ‘what if?” evolved to “so what, I’m alive!” This was short lived. My answer to the question of ‘why is he not dead?’ evolved to, “Because I still have work to do.”  Looking back, I was fine leaving it at that. For a while I didn’t even ask what that work might be. I must have unconsciously assumed that because I was still alive, I must be doing the work I was still alive to do. This makes even less sense having just typed it.  Two days ago, I wrote about a dragonfly’s lifecycle, how its decayed-leaf-looking, pond-bottom-dwelling nymph sheds its skin a number of times, each time, exposing a larger version of itself. Until, voila, a gorgeous adult dragonfly emerges. I feel like this. Shedding old skin, each time exposing a new dimension of this question, “why is he not dead?”  Losing the latest skin leaves me wondering ‘what actually the fuck is the work I’ve been kept alive to do?’ I think I know. I don’t assume that this is me, the adult dragonfly, but another stage. My work, I believe, is to contribute to re-enchanting the world. There. I’ve said it. I know how this sounds, but let me explain. For most of human history, the world was enchanted. Indigenous people understand this. Our early ancestors believed in gods who controlled time and the weather, performed rituals on which their lives depended. They played bone games to understand the future and buried their dead with what the journey to the next world might require. Stones and trees, springs and mountains were all inspirited. Humans knew they were but one species among many. Everything was alive. This all changed with modernity and the so-called “enlightenment” when (mostly) white (mostly men) people assumed that we were exalted beings. We thrived on power. Power came from wealth and wealth came from having, extracting, accumulating more than we individually needed, and selling the surplus. We turned wild sources into natural re-sources. Wild nature required ‘de-spiriting’ before it could be commodified.  We could not de-forest the landscape for the lumber to build houses and temples and forts without first eliminating the tree spirits. Which we did with a simple shift in point of view. Fast forward to a new discovery: coal, then another: oil—carbon, dug and drilled—extracted–from the beneath the earth’s surface, burned to fuel our newly industrialized lives. The commodification and burning of carbon is now known to be responsible for what may be the most serious threat to life on earth in human history. If disenchantment is at the root of biggest problem we’ve ever faced, then could re-enchantment be part of the solution?

Podcast–The Wild Connection



Dr. Jennifer Verdolin was kind enough to read my book, Mary Jane Wild: Two Walks and a Rant, and interview me on her podcast.

“Often we forget that we human beings are animals. Wild Connection: The Podcast is where Dr. Jennifer Verdolin investigates our similarities and differences with other animals, what we can learn, and how we can reconnect, not just with ourselves and each other, but with nature to improve our lives.

Check it here


Dream conversation with Senator Mike Lee of Utah

Here’s how my “conversation” with Mike Lee went.


Brooke: Senator Lee, Thank you for speaking with me.

Mike Lee: I don’t know you. If I did, I wouldn’t like you.

B: If you did like me I would hate myself. So….I’m trying to make sense of what has happened to America since 2016 when Trump was elected president. Let’s begin there. You were an ‘anyone but Trump” Republican. What happened.

ML: Trump is a joke. We all knew that. But actually this place to which we’ve arrived here in America doesn’t begin at Trump. It’s much deeper than that.

B: Where shall we begin?

ML: America is God’s country. Everyone knew that going back to hell, going back to the 17th Century when god told white men in Europe to go to America, prepare it for His return. And oh, by while you’re there, suppress the natives, subdue the wilderness, which will make you rich, which is the only source of power.

B: So this begins with white men and power.

ML: What else is there?

B: Many steps between then and Trump. What happened in between?

ML: We did the best we could. Killed most of the Indians. Those we didn’t we put on reservations. Kept black people in their place–segregation, red-lining, you name it. Got rid of MLK and Malcomb X in the nick of time. And I thought we did a great job after WWII of getting women back in their homes where they belong, having babies and what not.

B: Then what happened.

ML: The gosh-darn sixties happened. That’s what. That war.

B: you mean the Viet Nam War?

ML: Well that, but the war on the Establishment.  Everyone not white male knew their place up until then. And then…and then they didn’t. Black people got all uppity. Women burned their bras. Mexicans flooded our borders. Don’t get me started.

B: I already have, obviously.

ML: And now Climate Change. We dodged a bullet in 2000….heck, Gore would have tanked the country. How can a country run on wind and sun? There’s nothing to drill or dig. But then came 9-ll…..saved our patooties….nothing like some towel-heads crashing  planes into buildings to bring America back together. Darn, but weren’t those the days—all that plus we got to have another war, and and and Muslim Americans got put back in their place.

B: I think I’m going to throw up, so, can you flash forward to Trump.

ML: Trump, what a guy. Yes early on I was not on his team, I’ll grant you that. But like all good Republicans, nothing matters other than how I was seen by my party—sure my voters count, but as long as I have the money and party support, I can manipulate those Morons—I mean Mormons—to keep me in power as long as I want—Heck did you see that a few weeks ago at our convention….after being exposed for lying my frigging butt off, I get a STANDING flipping ovation, treated like a king….Now that’s power, my friend. But you’re not my friend….. You might look back at the shift many of us made, the change of heart so to speak, and say, “heck, once Mike Lee saw that Trump was the nominee, he turned, wanting to be a good team player.” Well, yes. Sort of. But once we really saw who he was, we knew we needed him.

B: “Saw who he was…” Who was he? Who did you see? Why did you need him?

ML: It’s very simple. Listen very carefully as this stuff is hard for you libtards to grasp. Things were not going our way, to say the least. Oh my heck, we’d just lived through 8 years having a BLACK MAN AS PRESIDENT. Golly. How the flip were we supposed to deal with that? And then Hillary? For flip sake. A women president and we were done. Put a frigging fork in us. (Wipes sweat from his brow.)

B: So, who then was/is Trump and why did you need him?

ML: Well, it turns out that to get what we wanted which is all the power and wealth God meant for us when he turned us white, we needed someone absolutely void of moral character. Well that isn’t exactly true, because as you’re probably aware, we’re all absolutely void of moral character… heck, it’s not really my fault, as once I came into power, it was as if something invaded my body and suddenly, all I cared about was me and my power. It’s a beautiful feeling. But I can’t say that out loud. But Trump…..darn if he can’t say anything to anyone any time….”Grab em by the you-know-what”….sure for a second we blanched at what he said, but right away, we all said, almost in unison, “Can you believe that guy had the cojones to say THAT out loud?”

B: so you’re all like Trump, but he’s got more courage.

ML: Bigger cojones anyway. But there’s more.

B: More?

ML: Along the lines of he says whatever he wants—he, a bit more than the rest of us, cares about one thing: Himself. Period. That’s it. Not another person, place, or thing—not another noun–. He does not care less about others, he doesn’t care at all.

B: And why was that attractive to you, Republicans?

ML: It’s very simple. He tells anyone who might add to his power, exactly what they want to hear.

B: For example

ML: Tell the gun people they can have all the guns and none of the rules. Tell the Pro-Lifers they can save all the babies. Tell the carbon industry we’ll ignore climate change. Tell the weapons industry that there will be more wars. Shall I continue?….I mean, figure it out, man, if you want to win and election you tell the most rabid single issue people what they want to hear and they’ll frigging vote for you.  Right? All of them. Regardless of what you tell everyone else.  We loved it. Who’d a thunk?

B: Makes sense.

ML: Darn right it makes sense. Sure I have some guns, and sure I care about babies, but POWER is what I really care about.

B: so what happened?

ML: Well, and we knew this was coming, there are simply not enough crazy people to win an election these days. You just have to flipping cheat. No way around it. So we did our best to cheat. And well, you know where that got us. But we’re on it. We’ve got plans.

B: I’ve had enough. Thanks. It’s been nice to chat.

ML: It has not. It’s been horrible. Go away.



Progress Report

I’ve spent the last two weeks working on my next book. I don’t have a title yet, but it’s non-fiction, memoir-ish in the sense that it’s about me and a dream I had nearly two decades ago, during which a dragonfly appeared to me. This wouldn’t seem strange or worthy of a book were it not for the fact that within an hour of dreaming of a dragonfly, I encountered a dozen dazzling blue damselflies hovering in the grass next to a small stream. That was the first ‘encounter’ with dragonflies I could recall having. It was not the last. Since then, I’ve had hundreds of encounters, many of them significant. This from my introduction:

Since then, I’ve tried making sense of how that original dream might have impacted my experience. Besides biology, my inquiry has been a journey through psychology, anthropology, paleontology, Indigenous wisdom, and Chinese philosophy. I realize now, that for me, “making sense” was once a requirement to believe, a justification.

Something happened. Isn’t that enough? 

I don’t have a publisher yet, and won’t until after I send the manuscript out. Right now, I think I’ve reached the end of my book, which as any of you who’ve written no, does not mean it’s finished. Stay tuned.