There are many dragonfly species in Northern Illinois - almost 100 - so there was lot to learn about, ranging from the most common to the possible rare sightings. I was also inspired by some wonderful macro photographs taken by one of the participants - beautiful detail and insight. I did not realize how diverse the habitats are that dragonflies prefer, and how specific many species are in their flight, perching, hunting and egg-laying preferences.
Somehow this got me started thinking about horses - but then, everything pretty much gets me thinking about horses! As we were talking about the common, and then the relatively rare, dragonfly species, it occurred to me that we could have been talking about horses. There are horse with outstanding achievements - Tevis Cup winners, Olympic medalists, World Cup show jumping winners, Triple Crown winners and aspirants, and even that beautiful dressage/show jumping/eventing horse that wins competitions. And then there's breed preferences - like with show dogs - there are beautiful purebred show horses of every description. As a former hunter/jumper competitor, I've been as guilty of these preferences as the next person - I got Maisie largely because she was so beautiful.
But what about the ordinary, everyday horse? The perhaps ugly (by conventional standards), oddly colored or not purebred horse that is someone's special friend or companion, or that achieves in the backyard, or the lower level show ring, or on the trail, something special with a human companion? Or the therapy horse that provides help and comfort to someone who is mentally or physically challenged? Does it always have to be about the beautiful or the perfect or the competition winner? I think half (or more) of the problems in the horse world - abuses of all kind - come because of the human desire to compete and win, sometimes regardless of the cost.
There's a lot to be said for the value of the ordinary - the horse that is someone's valued companion or friend, regardless of breed, appearance or pedigree. How do we learn to value the everyday (but very special) horse, or dragonfly for that matter, as much as the "special" horse, dog or dragonfly?