Posted by: Trisha Leigh | July 11, 2011

A Single Day

I’ve always felt sorry for mayflies. Sometimes at the Lake in the spring hundreds of them hatch and hang in huge bundles. Their wings dry and, one by one, they fly away. I save the ones who fall into the water, scoop them out and settle them back on dry land, urge them on their way.

My grandfather caught me rescuing one, and told me not to bother. He was a farmer, my grandfather, and practical about the realities of life and death. I ignored him and continued, because watching a creature – any creature – struggle to survive is something I can’t stomach. But I asked him, why not save them?

They only live for 24 hours, came the reply.

Ever since that day I feel sad when I watch the mayflies hatch and take flight. One day. That’s all they get to hatch, grow up, meet a nice mayfly and make mayfly babies. I honestly don’t know what else they might do with their time, but I’ve always hoped it was something terribly fun and exciting and maybe a little bit naughty.

Last week I saw a mayfly on the window outside my office. 3 hours later, he/she sat in the same place and I tapped the glass, advised it to take flight. You only get 24 hours, little guy. You’ve wasted at least 3 of them sitting on the window of a government office building. I mean, if I was going to waste a chunk of my one day staring in a window, you can bet it would be somewhere like Jude Law’s living room or the men’s locker room at Wimbledon. I mean, you don’t even have to worry about restraining orders at that point.

In all seriousness, I wondered for a while about that mayfly staring in my window. Was he scared of flying? Of getting squashed? Maybe he’d convinced himself the view was fine from that window, and maybe he even had a nice breeze blowing against his wings. But he was wasting his day. His only one. And that made me sad.

It’s everything I don’t want to do with my life. Sit still because I’m afraid if I leap I’ll fall, if I make a choice it will be the wrong one. Let the fear of failure stop me from trying.

And there are days when I fail. When I sit in front of my keyboard while all the doubts, all the rejections, all the failed attempts march in front of my eyes and freeze me in place.

I like to think if I only had one day, though, that I would find the courage to fly.



  1. This is gorgeous and heart-breaking. You are my favorite.

    • Thanks for reading, gorgeous lady.

  2. Beautiful. ❀

  3. But what if it was what he really wanted to do? Maybe for that particular one, sitting right there was the most perfect way to spend the day.

    But I don’t mean to undermine your point. It’s a good one. πŸ™‚

    • It’s a fair point. Everyone’s version of happiness and contentment are certainly not the same. I can only see the world through my own (admittedly skewed) point of view, though πŸ™‚

  4. “It’s everything I don’t want to do with my life. Sit still because I’m afraid if I leap I’ll fall, if I make a choice it will be the wrong one. Let the fear of failure stop me from trying.”
    Yes yes yes yes yes.

    • Thanks for reading. I’m glad I know you. It’s nice to feel like I’m not alone in some of my scarier emotional moments.

  5. Lovely post. I like the way your mind works. πŸ™‚

    • Haha, thanks. For some reason a quote from Aladdin came to my mind when I read this, when Jafar tells Iago “I love the way your foul little mind works.” πŸ˜‰

  6. beautifully written. it really touched me & i related to your thoughts of life. thank you for sharing your heart with me. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you for reading, Diane, and for your kind words.

  7. I worry about bugs too. It’s a little overwhelming.

    • It certainly can be. I let a lightning bug die in my room the other night because I was too lazy to put it out before I went to sleep and felt guilty all day.

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