Let’s head to the pond on our #NatureDoodlewash hike and take a peek at a dragonfly. I’ve always loved these creatures and would seek them out when I was a kid fishing with my grandparents. Even when I found out they were not actually tiny flying dragons, which I had originally thought they were, I still liked them. These incredible creatures have been on the planet for over 300 million years, predating dinosaurs. So that’s still pretty cool. Growing up, I knew some little girls who swore they were fairies, which is an easy mistake when seeing one fly, but once they land you can clearly see the dragon similarities.
Perhaps it was also my dream of wanting to fly myself that attracted me to dragonflies. They were impressive and would zoom by me at what seemed like an incredibly fast speed. I would later find out that one in Australia clocked in at 36 miles per hour (58 kpm). That’s basically only the speed of an entry-level Vespa, but that’s still pretty impressive for something less than 10 centimeters long. Back when they flew next to dinosaurs, however, they were actually rather huge. The largest fossil ever found was a dragonfly that had a wing span of 2.5 feet (76 cm). That would be perfectly terrifying.
There are more than 5,000 known species of dragonflies in the world today, so it’s possible there are even more out there yet to be discovered. Seeing one today is still a thrill for me, even if I’ve lost much of my childhood naiveté. As one buzzes past and then hovers in the air like a helicopter, I still stand in amazement. And looking closely, I’ll check just to confirm it’s not a little fairy like those little girls claimed. No, down by the pond you’ll find nothing of the sort. But if you squint your eyes just right, it is very possible you might be lucky enough to see a dragon.
Join me throughout the month of June on a virtual nature hike! Show everyone what you love most in nature with a watercolor sketch or painting and tag your images #NatureDoodlewash so we can all enjoy it with you! I’ll create a featured artist gallery of our global hike at the end of the month!