10/22/2013 02:20 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Dragonfly: St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, April 22, 2006


It's a sunny afternoon in St. Bernard Parish. We're filming at the now-abandoned jail, amidst desolate miles of empty, battered remains of homes and businesses, all ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Driving into the parish -- whose name ironically signifies the dog of rescue and aiding lost travelers -- traffic lights are dark. Shopping centers are abandoned. Signs are knocked over. The presence of generations, of lives lived and upended, rings out from the emptiness and the rubble. Beneath the sky of this warm spring day there is sadness on the ground and in the air. I'm having a cold drink, speaking with one of the film's producers, when I see this dragonfly poised on the antenna of a car. "Excuse me," I say. With drink in one hand, point-and-shoot camera in the other, I activate the close-up setting and snap three frames. The dragonfly remains in position, moving only its wing with each exposure, as if to give me options. I do not immediately see the story in this picture, until a couple of months later when I receive a mass email of trivia including an item that a dragonfly's lifespan is only 24 hours. Whether or not this is accurate, it makes me think of the delicate, transitory nature of our world, of divinity in tragedy and about the blessing of a sunny afternoon.