Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Of Mayflies and Men

I saw what must have been the last mayfly today and thought, “How sad.”

[Graphic scientific note, in case you didn't know: The mayfly (Ephemeroptera – ephemera, for short-lived) hatches, has sex and dies generally all within one day.]

Our mayfly swarms came earlier last month. I haven't seen any around for a couple of weeks. This fella (gal?) must've been a late-bloomer.

And so, there we were inspecting the Ohio together, alone.

I noticed a mockingbird with her bouncing tail looking for lunch, no doubt making the mayfly nervous.

Or not. What does he care? He's there by himself, totally lacking in purpose.

The rain that has finally come has made the riverfront blessedly cool for a mid-July day. A mob of mallards lazily enjoying the sunless and damp day coasted downstream. A kingfisher makes a magnificent dive-by for lunch, swooping up out of the water empty-mouthed, so far as I could tell.

It was as I walked on down the riverfront that I saw her, glory hallelujah! A second mayfly.

And hope springs eternal in the small little hearts of all God's critters.


the dharma bum said...

So perhaps that first mayfly did have a purpose? (Being that you saw a second mayfly.)

We may never know. I've been doing a lot of thinking about how everything all creatures do has a purpose. Some people see the behavior of plants and animals as random or meaningless, I'd say it's far from it.

Thanks for taking us on your walk!

Constantine said...

Nice style. You painted a picture. I kind of felt sad for the little guy/gal.

You kind of sounded like Annie Dillard some.

lené said...

I enjoyed the walk too. The mayflies, the kingfisher--reminded me of a few things I've been seeing too. Thanks.

Eleutheros said...

My wife and I met as the result of us both knowing a mad woman. One might say, "Ah, had it not been for her, you would have not met!" Oh? I rather think that had it not been for us, the cosmos would have had little need for her. We are a fact. Are we the result of someone's purpose or is their purpose only needed as some scafolding and prop to bring us about? Or as the protagonist in the flick Amistad said when the legal counsel asked him if he believed his ancestors would be present in the courtroom when his case was decided, he said,

"I will call into the past. Far back to the beginning of time. And beg them to come and help me -- at the judgement. I will reach back and draw them into me, and they must come, for at this moment, I am the whole reason they have existed at all."

Dan Trabue said...

Thanks, all. Hmmm, WE are the sum total of the reason of our ancestors? Impressive but scary thought.

madcapmum said...

I think my sour old gran would have something to say about that! ME the reason for HER existence indeed! It gives me the giggles just to consider the ensuing rant!

But... when you put it in terms of mayflys.... was "your" mayfly the reason for all the previous millions of generations of mayflys? Or was the mockingbird? Or was the man watching the mockingbird the reason for all those mayflys?

Or maybe my head's not big enough to contain all those mayflys and their possibilities, and I'll just have to let it all be and go about my gardening. Yes, that seems the most likely conclusion. Back to the beets! Thanks for a lovely walk by your river.