I might have saved someone’s life today. I’m not entirely sure, so I’ll lay it all out and let you be the judge. I was paddling my kayak and singing a song I learned a child:
- My paddle’s keen and bright
Flashing with silver
Follow the wild goose flight
Dip, dip and swing
- Dip, dip and swing her back
Flashing with silver
Swift as the wild goose flies
Dip, dip and swing
It’s a cheerful piece, and being alone on a lake is the best place to sing it. My patient husband used to allow me to go on and on with nary a complaint. Sometimes he’d join in, though it was always hard to recognize the tune as he sang it. Now that he’s gone, I get on the lake whenever I can, because I feel very connected to him there.
Today I was paddling and singing, when mid song, I notice someone drowning. Well, something. A dragonfly was thrashing around in the water, desperately trying to fly away but not able to free itself. I paddled quickly and ran right over it in my effort to help. Then I tried again, almost falling out of my kayak in my attempts to get the bug aboard my orange paddle. It seemed even more frightened of the paddle than the water, but I wasn’t taking no for an answer.
There are many religions in the world, several believing that people can spend their next life as something else. Like an insect. In between singing, I’d been talking to my dead husband, saying, ‘Feel free to join me! Sneak away if you can!’ And then I came upon the drowning dragonfly. This was a moment I’d been waiting for, where I’d get to address my inner Kate Winslet from the Titanic movie. “I’ll never let go!” I said to the dragon fly, softly but with the right amount of drama in my voice. I meant it, too. I was willing to flip my kayak far from shore to prove it. It was a safe proposition, because I was wearing my new life vest which makes me look like a person who takes out terrorists and then goes kayaking. Anyway.
At last I got the dragon fly onto the paddle and dropped it gently on the front of my kayak where it sat, rubbing its face with its front legs, it’s small chest heaving with what I believed was relief. I felt so good. ‘I saved you,’ I said to the bug. ‘Is your name Clarence? You’d better not be a reincarnation of Hitler.’
What is it with Hitler, anyway? There are other evil people who’ve walked the earth that I could mention. I could have said Stalin. Or the Marquis de Sade, who wasn’t very nice to his house guests. But Hitler’s always the first guy that comes to mind. I really didn’t want the bug to be a bad guy, and that got me thinking.
I’m a Christian who has never believed in the concept of hell. Rather, I believe that when our energy moves on to our next lives, we develop an awareness of how we behaved while on earth. Does that mean Hitler is sorry? Is he wringing his hands and hoping people will forgive him? I guess he’ll have to run that by the people he killed. Enough of that. Let’s get back to my life saving business.
As I drew close to shore, I could see the bug reviving even more. I climbed out of my kayak and carried it over to my car. Fetching my straps from the back, I lowered the Hullavator Pro so I could load my kayak and push it up on the roof. I got the thing strapped up, secured it both back and front of my car and drove off down the road. Then I remembered the dragon fly.
I forgot to check if he’d flown away. Perhaps he was still desperately clinging to the vessel. Maybe the wind beneath his wings had dried him off. Or maybe I had killed him. Perhaps I was supposed to let things take their natural course and let him die all along? I’m a Hanson by birth. It’s my nature to get involved in things that are none of my business.
The good news is, I had a wonderful, peaceful singing afternoon on a lake as smooth as glass. The bad news is, I’m a neglectful, potentially dangerous bug killer. If it was my husband, it’s okay. He understands my forgetful nature. If it was Hitler, who cares. Dear bug, I salute your valiant efforts to survive, even if it was all in vain. Such is life. Now here’s my song. WordPress won’t let me post it, but the link is here.