Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dancing with Dragonflies

"I almost wish I hadn't gone down that rabbit-hole — and yet — and yet — it's rather curious, you know, this sort of life! I do wonder what can have happened to me! When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!" —from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Curiosity is a curious thing (see what I did there?). Defined as the desire to know or learn about anything; inquisitiveness, its etymology stems from Latin, Middle-English, and Anglo-French. Curiosity is part of biology and a quality that many species possess.

For today's post, I once again present a case study:
A Case Study, or Dancing with Dragonflies
During my time living on a farm, our cat had free reign over our expansive yard. He loved following my sister and I around on our escapades through the surrounding shelter belt of trees.

Many days, our Sonny-cat could be found chasing any number of critters in the yard. Salamanders, grasshoppers - he was, as many cats are, the ever-curious animal. One day, I recall watching him try to capture the dragonflies that flew through the tall grasses growing along the property line.
The dragonflies would dart out of reach, flitting back and forth in the light breeze as Sonny would make multiple attempts to swipe the winged beasts out of the air. They were always fast, always just out of reach, as though they were taunting him: Come get us, you silly kitty. We can fly - you can't.
As I watched him stalk through the grass, crouched low to the ground, I couldn't help thinking, It's as if he is dancing with dragonflies. He'd excitedly leap into the air as one got too close to his outstretched paws. Occasionally he'd pin one down before releasing it into the open sky again. He lived in a world of his own, dancing with the dragonflies.
I'm not using this post to compare humanity with the feline species. I want to paint a picture on how continual curiosity in our lives is important to our well-being as people. This case study is a metaphor: just as Sonny was curious about his surroundings, we too as individuals should be curious about the things we encounter in our everyday lives. Michael W. Austin, Ph.D, discusses this concept in his article Intellectual Curiosity:
If we want to grow intellectually, morally, socially, and spiritually, we need to ask questions and seek answers. We need intellectual curiosity. At some point, however, many of us lost this initial curiosity. Perhaps we feared looking unintelligent or ignorant, or perhaps a peer in school mocked us for our curiosity. Fortunately, it is not too difficult to retrieve this trait.
Like Alice and her proverbial trip "down that rabbit-hole," we need to embrace our curiosity. It opens up new possibilities for our growth as individuals, and ultimately, it gives us a chance to see what we are truly capable of. We should be exploring our surroundings and dancing with our own dragonflies.

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