Today along the river bank the willow seeds are emerging and the wind is setting them free. Clouds of fluffy white seeds drift past. It is snowing seeds. They collect on the shore and among the reeds but disapear if they touch the water, as if melting into it. The sun is hot but the breeze is refreshing... and filled with mystery, as if the willow seed haze is hiding something or someone. Perhaps it is hiding insects. It is a peaceful day for bugs. The flies, mosquitoes, and bees are not in this tranquil scene with all their buzzing about. Only dragonflies and damselflies swoop low across the river. At first I wonder what they are hunting. Then I see that hiding among the fog of seeds are mayflies. The wind not only released the willows, it is also carring the mayflies on the single most important day of their little life.
Mayflies live their life underwater in rivers. They are aquatic creatures, darting between rocks, clinging to the stones you kick when you walk upstream. Then on this one special day, they break out of the drab exoskeloton as a dazzeling mayfly. They leave behind an ugly brown body for a shimmering one with wings but without mouth parts for they will not live long enough to need to feed. For one day they fly. They soar over the river and dance in the breeze high above the cold watery world that had been all they had known until now. On this day they find love and make love. These lovers sexual bodies intertwine and together they dance in the willow seed laden wind, high above the water. They live in pure ecstasy, as angels in heaven, as fairy folk in fern gully. Then they die. The male falls upon dry land, exhausted and weak. The female drops into the water letting her beautiful wings get pulling into the icey depths, sacrificing her spent but beautiful body to the fish. But just before the death takes her under, the majestic insect lays eggs, so that another generation can grow up to live life to its fullest for one amazing day!
- Roslyn Imrie
- I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.