She was on her back, wings rigid against the cement step, one leg twitching feebly in the air. I didn’t know if she was in her final moments. I didn’t know if I wanted to know.
She was bigger than I thought she should be, this dragonfly (who could well have been a he), still faintly iridescent within the shadow of the building looming far above her, the building she had probably crashed into before we arrived on the scene.
I wasn’t sure what to do, but I wanted to do something. Would moving her cause unfortunate agitation or even damage? Was I just being a bumbling human, thinking I could save the world when sometimes you just have to sit back and let things be?
I decided to do nothing
—then. My friend and I had an actual purpose for being at this building; there’s an awesome basement restaurant and it was lunchtime. I thought, if the dragonfly was still there by the time we picked up lunch and came back out of the building, then I’d do something.
The leg that had been twitching was now still. She seemed too still. I dithered and hesitated and boggled. My friend informed the dragonfly that she should move. She didn’t take him up on his suggestion. What to do? Should I let nature be nature?
I didn’t. I borrowed a wide, many-pointed green leaf from a low-growing plant and slowly lowered it over the dragonfly. I had a vague idea of scooping her into the nearby flower bed so she’d be out of the way of foot traffic, but looking back, I was going about it entirely the wrong way.
Yet I was going about it exactly the right way, for as soon as the leaf touched her, she gripped it. All her legs curled around the leaf, clinging with surprising strength. Equally surprised, I lifted the leaf, and she came right with it.
As soon as we cleared enough air space, she took off with a relieved whirr of her wings, a sparkling, darting flight soon lost in the sun-drenched noon, but kept in my memory. I was buoyant too, having just helped a fellow creature get back on its path.