Dragnonflies

tylerA couple of days ago Victor Ugloyn e-mailed me the above photograph. It’s a dragonfly that darted ahead of him into the pro shop at his local golf course.

Before 12 years ago, I never thought much of dragonflies. Oh, we had tons of them on the mean streets of Mahopac, N.Y. They’d dart above the bushes, swoop past ponds, near lights, through weeds. They were—like many things we take for granted—everywhere, but also nowhere. They existed but, well, who cared? They were dragonflies. Yawn.

Then, in the days after September 11, I met Victor Ugolyn, father of Tyler Ugolyn—a 23-year-old man who died inside the World Trade Center on that heinous morning. I wrote a piece about Tyler (a former Columbia basketball player) for Sports Illustrated, and Victor and I struck up a genuine friendship. He told me that his son was a big admirer of dragonflies, and that—after his passing—dragonflies appeared everywhere. Victor didn’t know, for certain, what that meant, only that it offered some sense of hope and possibility.

I, for one, have been attending synagogue from the time I was a baby. I’ve sat through long sermons and short sermons and high holiday talking points and supposedly spiritual and inspirational moments.

Nothing really took. I listen, I nod off, I listen some more.

On this day, however, I find myself a genuine believer.

I believe in the dragonfly.

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