It is the season for the war planes, the velvety-scarlet or electric-blue gossamer-winged machines of airborne destruction. They swoop through the air, sometimes clicking dangerously, other times silent and deadly. The good news is that this powerful air force is on our side. It is made up of mosquito-hungry dragonflies and they take their work seriously. I have never actually seen one ingesting its prey and often wonder if they swallow the mosquitoes whole or tear them apart with mighty jaws. Either way, little time is lost before the hunt seamlessly resumes. I remember being scared of the dragonflies as a child. My great aunt called them devil’s darning needles and the legend was that they would sew you up. I didn’t actually believe that but the approach of this huge, noisily-clicking insect was still scary. With jaws like that, wouldn’t they bite? Now, I doubt that they bite and I am honored if one of these flying works of art should deign to light upon me for a moment and afford me a close-up view of its intense colors and masterfully-engineered design. To watch a group of them flying, silver-lit against the evening sun is a special treat. Fly on, darning needles!

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