Seeing Red



“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!” – Dr. Seuss


I already held in my mind’s eye my vision for this post.

I’d taken a shot this morning of a red dragonfly and it’s colour inspired my vision.

Yesterday I used a shot of a blue dragonfly as inspiration for my post – Gossamer Blues.


Both of these dragonflies are rare visitors to my garden. Both appeared and disappeared suddenly, and did not pose for shots. The regular dragonflies are very different, you can get up close and personal with them and they don’t seem to mind the attention at all. It’s almost as if they like it.

Looking At You

The blue dragonfly watched me the entire time I was hunting it with my lens and did so with suspicion. If I anthropomorphise – It seemed nervous. It had a habit of moving the moment I managed to get it in focus.

The red dragonfly did not watch me. It did not seem nervous, but it gave the impression that since this particular garden was not familiar territory that it wasn’t certain if it liked being here or not. It had a critical edge to it.

That critical edge and its colour made me think of anger – hence calling this post ‘Seeing Red’.

As I was forming the words which would accompany my post,

a while after the photo shoot with the red dragonfly,

a while after it had gone without any of the sort of ceremony a human might bother to perform under such circumstances to avoid annoying its observers,

I spotted it again.

At first I was not sure that it was the same dragonfly. In fact I was a bit baffled and wondered if my eyes were deceiving me – kind of like our eyes and minds deceive us when we are seeing red, when we are partaking of the intoxicating juice of anger. Was it a dragonfly at all? It looked like a dragonfly but it did not fly like a dragonfly – it undulated in an ‘S’ shape rather than move in a ‘Z’ shaped zigzag.

I moved in for a closer inspection and saw what appeared to be the red dragonfly with a brownish dragonfly attached to its tail. I quickly fetched my camera… not quickly enough to get a shot and therefore I have no proof that what I saw existed… so maybe it was an optical illusion.

Humans can be quick when motivated, especially when motivated by anger – conclusion jumping often gets an Olympic Gold in such circumstances, followed by a righteous indignation ceremony – but never as quick as a dragonfly or two stuck together. Is that possible, is that how they mate? I have no idea and may remember to look it up at some point… deciding to find out whether we are operating on fact or fiction fuel can be a delicate affair for our ego and other bits an pieces which make up our whole.

Looking things up was what was going to be my focus for ‘Seeing Red’. Or at least what happens when you look things up and they stimulate the fiery nerve – the nervous fierious.

This morning while browsing the latest psychology news, I happened upon a post which was discussing a ‘test’ which has been devised to determine with one single question – a very loaded question – whether someone is a Narcissist or not. It gave the impression (the question and not that particular article) of being a magic bullet or formula which suggests that we can do away with everything else, experience, expertise, and whatnot which might be time consuming, this is all we need. Laziness (and a desire for idealistic solutions which do all the work for us so we don’t have to do much if anything) abides.

Apparently all you need to do to find out if someone is a Narcissist is to ask them if they are or not. Apparently they will answer this honestly, without bias or strategical forethought… or something like that. And that is that. Problem solved.

And yes, I saw red.

“Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we’re opened, we’re red.” ― Clive Barker


Being blue and seeing red are regular weather for human emotions. Definitely for this human, anyway.

I’d miss the wind… was an idea I’d had for a post subject and title the other day. I’m sporadically house-hunting at the moment, and a few weeks ago I found a ‘perfect’ house… part of its perfection lay in the fact that it was built in an old quarry which made it protected from the elements. Where I live now is so exposed to the elements and particularly wind-blown that… taking pics of dragonflies is often hampered where focus is concerned by the wind blowing.

Be careful for what you wish… sometimes you only wish for it because you don’t have it and don’t appreciate what you do have because you have it.

The ‘perfect’ house gradually became less perfect the more it dawned on me that the things which made it ‘perfect’ also made it potentially ‘imperfect’. Luckily someone else bought it and so… I didn’t have to find out that my dream house was a nightmare.

That trick about counting to 10 when angry… that kind of pause is useful with other emotions and thoughts too.

I sometimes look at my photos that way, with wishful thinking  – if only I’d gotten the shot which I didn’t get rather than the one which I did get. If only I had the talent which I didn’t have… et cetera.

And I sometime look at myself that way – if only I wasn’t me, if only I was someone else… but if I was someone else, perhaps I’d be them wishing I was me. Maybe. Maybe not…

Face it


  1. It is really mesmerizing to see where you start and where you end up with your thought. thank you for this clever post and yes, we should all be aware of our wishful thinking!


    • Thank you 🙂

      I do like to wander along the footpaths of the mind and see where they lead. I think wishful thinking serves as inspiration, just sometimes the wish becomes a balloon which lifts us off the ground and carries us too high to let go and in that moment we appreciate the ground more than the sky, whereas before we longed for the sky and barely noticed the ground. It’s good to be aware of a bit of everything.


  2. Your shots are magnificent, and your thoughts remind me of the efforts I take sometimes to retrace my thought steps to find how I got to point S all the way from point A.


    • Thank you very much 🙂

      It’s fascinating to retrace the steps our minds took to reach a conclusion, it’s a bit like reverse engineering, and sometimes by doing so we can improve the design of the thought, fine tune it, or rethink it completely using the same components slightly differently. It’s a particularly useful technique for understanding how someone else may have reached an alternative conclusion to ours. We can see where a thought path reached a crossroads and we chose one way while someone else chose the other way. We can learn a lot about ourselves and others by doing that, which is always insightful and may open us up to a new perspective.

      Writing is a good way to discover how our mind puts things together.


    • Thank you very much for sharing that link, the article reminds me a bit of a wonderful book – Color: A Natural History of the Palette Paperback by Victoria Finlay – which charts how colour evolved in art and how its evolution affected humans, the symbolism we attach to it and the different ways we’ve used it.

      My father was an artist and through being exposed to his work from an early age I became very conscious of colour as he loved using vibrant hues. When I went through my rebellious phase I went monochrome, preferring black and white, and rejected colour completely as though I was allergic to it. Recently things keep reminding me of that phase. Hmmm. It took me a long time to like colour again, bit by bit, colour by colour.

      Have you explored the Chakra system, it’s an interesting way to look at colour, especially hues connected to mood and energy levels. Red is associated with the root chakra, which is connected to our survival instinct and adrenalin. Blue is associated with the throat chakra, which is connected to communication, self-expression and the thyroid – which regulates growth and energy.

      I find sometimes that feeling blue goes with something within which needs to be acknowledged but its expression has been suppressed, and when I feel sad, I feel lethargic, I have no energy to do anything other than sink into my inner ocean, it focuses my attention on the place within where that which is silent needs to speak, be heard and listened to.

      It’s interesting to note that ‘The Blues’ often uses repetition of words to express a deeply poignant emotion. It’s as though sadness needs to repeat itself until we hear it, acknowledge what it is telling us, release it from silence so that its song can help us to grow. As long as we keep trying to escape it, deny it, distract ourselves from it, not hear its voice, its energy is blocked and keeps us trapped too in some way, but if we let it express itself, the energy is released and integrated into our system.

      Seeing red and feeling blue often go together, one sometimes feeds the other. Sadness often makes us angry, and anger often makes us sad. We sometimes deal with our sadness by getting angry, perhaps because it’s a quick way to get energy, but once it burns up we’re back to being sad again. And sometimes we douse our flames of anger with the waters of melancholy.

      Finding a way to express where we are stuck helps to understand what it is exactly which feels stuck. I sometimes see my own stuckness when I take photographs, or while reviewing the shots afterwards and work on them. We’re always communicating with ourselves one way or another, figuring out what we’re communicating can be tricky because we need to know our own language and code. Colour is a part of that.


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