Something is different today. I can feel it immediately as I step out the door. Did you hear that? The chorus frogs begin to call in earnest, announcing the onset of spring! The fragrance of delicate new life wafts on gentle breezes against my cheek. We have all waited impatiently for these first warming rays of spring! But beware! Spring is an ephemeral season. (Ephemeral as defined by Webster: adj: 1. Lasting a short time 2. Lasting or living but a day; noun: an ephemeral thing or organism.) Spring showers and soft breezes will soon concede to the heat and sun of a Midwestern summer.
The subtle appearance of the spring wildflower as it peeks through the decaying leaf fall of a previous autumn, lifts the winter gloom from even the heaviest heart, and offers to us a sense of rebirth. Do not dally! Hurry into the forest and inhale the sweet fragrance…touch the delicate petals to your nose…for they will not be with us long. Like the fleeting season of spring, the riotous color of a wildflower is also ephemeral.
As if on cue from the wildflowers, insects begin to emerge from their deep over-wintering secrets. Even though insects may seem incredibly persistent to us, they too, are ephemerals. Mayflies, for example, are an amazing order of insects that scientists recognize as Ephemeropterans. They spend much of their lives as aquatic nymphs beneath the surface of flowing streams and windswept lakes. Adult glory is as ephemeral as the delicate spring wildflower. These insects emerge from the water’s surface only to live for a few hours to a couple of weeks, at best. There is no time to eat! Do not dally! This is the time to mate so that they might complete the cycle of life and insure the survival of their species.
Such poor insignificant creatures, these flowers and insects! It is better to be human. We live such a long and sheltered life. We witness the glory of numerous seasons as they come and go.
One day, I watched a small boy delight in the wonders of nature. He discovered the secrets that were held by the giant elm tree within the forest. I had missed these secrets with my trained eye, dulled by the complacency of adulthood. In his simple pleasure, I discovered the truth. The enchantment of childhood is truly ephemeral. In but a moment in time children become adults with eyes that have already seen all…just like our own! Do not hesitate! Take a small hand within your own and step out into nature. Experience the magic through their eyes. Share the natural world with them today, that they may hold the earth dear in their hearts tomorrow. Do not hesitate! Seize this very day, for childhood is truly an ephemeral season.