IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IN DRAGONS…
© 2009 By David Wainland
Years ago, I came across a cartoon of a dragon. The subject caught my attention at once.
I started collecting dragons decades before, back in 1964, the first year of my marriage. They fascinated me, the looks, the stylings, the drama and of course the mythology. Almost every culture has, in its past, employed a dragon. You can find the beast in the ancient orient, in Mexico, South America, all over Europe, into the British Isles and religions so far in the past they are lost to the annals of time. The dragon has dominated our nightmares and our dreams from the beginnings of recorded history.
They are magnificent colorful creatures, belching smoke and fire with tails whipping in the ghostly winds of the time stream. Monsters dressed in a wingtip spread that cloaks the sun in ominous dusk wherever and whenever they pass. Symbols of fear to some, heroic figures to others.
My collection, in those days, littered the house. A mélange of magnificent bronze figurines, wood and ivory carvings, paper gargoyles and painted griffins. I had them all.
By 1985, I was at the top of my game. My business prospered, money flowed, and I had a home, a wife and two wonderful children. In fact I had just about everything I wanted or needed. In my arrogance, I ignored the possibility of failure and neglected to temper my haughtiness with humility.
Some say, “Man plans and God laughs.”
In 1986, our business suddenly went sour and within months, our savings were gone to over-stuffed mortgages, luxury car payments and all the unnecessary paraphernalia that surrounded us.
My wife and I dug in our heels and began the resurgence. Not for the first time in our lives, fate forced us to begin again.
We scratched our way back.
One day, while leafing through a magazine in a dentist office, I discovered the dragon cartoon. In a single motion, while my eyes swept the room for an accusatory, I tore the page and without apology, stuffed it into my pocket.
Hours later and back at home, I unfolded the sheet. It was a simple drawing, but it exposed the truth so completely that hung it in my office for years and perhaps changed my life.
The cartoon, castle in the background, was of a dragon, an old English version, with wings swept backwards, leaning vertically against a tree. In one outstretched claw, it held a knight’s lance and picked at bones wedged between carnivorous teeth. On the ground and grass surrounding the scaled brute were helmets, skulls, shields and pieces of broken armor.
Below the drawing in a bold scrawl, a lesson in humility.
I went shopping the next day and purchased a gold dragon charm to wear around my neck. It has hung there all these years.
Sometimes, the Dragon Wins!
That was my lesson and here is my philosophy.
“If you can believe in dragons, you can believe in anything.”