Have you ever heard of a damselfly?
Don’t worry if you haven’t. The damselfly doesn’t get a lot of press.
Even if you’ve heard the word, you might have thought it was simply a female version of a dragonfly. I was guilty of that myself.
This past week, though, I’ve learned a lot about dragonflies and damselflies. The speaker at my Fairfax County Master Gardener class, Kevin Munroe, Director of Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia, taught us how to create wildlife habitats using native plants.
Kevin is crazy about dragonflies. He chases them across meadows and through wetlands and writes books about them. He created a really cool website all about dragonflies (check it out at http://dragonfliesnva.com).
Kevin’s photos and facts about dragonflies and damselflies (another dose of which I took in at a separate lecture of his a few days after the Master Gardener class) flew into my head and wouldn’t stop fluttering.
Universe to Martha: Listen Up, Girlfriend!
I’m still new to this, but I’m starting to recognize the physical feeling of the Universe sending me a message. When an idea, or something even less defined than that, sparks a sort of buzzing excitement in my heart, I know now that I’m supposed to pay attention. I sit with it for a couple of days. I watch how it presents itself during my meditation sessions and throughout the rest of the day. If the net result is ego-free, positive energy flow, it’s the “Do Something With This” memo.
The other thing going on last week was that I was playing around with business names for my independent author/publishing venture. This is where the damselfly laid her eggs.
Somehow, I had to work this insect into my business name.
Why I Chose the Damsel over the Dragon
Dragonflies and damselflies have a lot in common. They are both classified in the same insect order (Odonata), but dragonflies are in the suborder Anisoptera, whereas damselflies are in the suborder Zygoptera. I don’t have the dragonfly/damselfly breakdown, but about 6,000 species exist worldwide within the Odonata order.
Enough with the boring left-brained stuff. Here’s why my heart buzzed for the damselfly:
Feng-shui friendly: Damselflies perch with their wings tucked together along their backs, whereas dragonflies perch with their wings open wide. Damselflies don’t hog more room than they need, appealing to my space-saving sensibilities.
More intelligent looking eyes: Along with perched wing placement, the eyes are the second biggest distinguisher between dragonflies and damselflies. Damselflies’ eyes are set on either side of their head, not touching, sort of like a hammerhead shark’s eyes. Dragonflies’ eyes are bigger and touch in the middle of the forehead, giving them a Neanderthal look. Both have spectacular eyesight, however, with almost 360 degree vision.
Nicer to each other: Dragonflies are cannibals, indiscriminately eating their own species even if other food sources are available. Damselflies are carnivorous predators too, but they don’t eat each other nearly as often as dragonflies do. Mosquitoes are a favorite food source for both dragonflies and damselflies, adding to their street cred.
Speed (lack thereof): Dragonflies zip about at breakneck speed, with some species able to fly 40 miles an hour. That’s impressive, but since my running (and living) motto is “Slow is the New Fast,” I prefer the damselfly’s more relaxed pace. Rather than flying fast and straight, damselflies flutter and float, sometimes looking a little bit drunk. But they still reach their target. And they’ve survived for 250 million years.
I wanted the word “Press” in my business name since my vision includes garden photography side products like prints, note cards, calendars, and other paper-based items (including more books down the road).
“Damselfly Press” is already taken though, by a cool-looking online literary magazine showcasing female authors.
I thought more about what part of the damselfly captures my imagination, and it’s definitely the wings. Though transparent and seemingly fragile, those wings have carried the damselfly since the time of the dinosaurs.
“Damselwings” floated to the surface while I was drying my hair. I liked the ring of it. The word flows off the tongue easily. Damselwings…
And even if a damselfly doesn’t come immediately to mind (since a lot of people haven’t even heard of damselflies), I still liked the symbolism of damsels combined with wings.
When I hear the word “damsel” I think of “damsel in distress.” But give her a pair of wings, and she can free herself, even if she’s not the fastest or the straightest flier out there.
My heartstrings buzzed louder (i.e. “Pay attention, Martha!”). I turned off the hairdryer with the job half-finished. Wild-haired and dressed only in my underwear, I opened the laptop and did a Google search for Damselwings.
Zero results found. Bingo! Off to GoDaddy.com to see if the domain name was available. Score! I snapped up damselwingspress.com (and other suffixes that might be of use) and stuffed it into my toolbox.
That’s as far as I’ve gotten, but it’s a start.
In the meantime, I’ve dubbed next month “Feng Shui February.” The blog will be devoted to sharing Feng Shui tips and fixes I’m implementing myself to lay the foundation for future growth and positive energy boosts. I hope you’ll join me and get your Feng Shui groove on!
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