Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Hatch is on!

Think how fast a year flies by

A month flies by

A week flies by

Think how fast a day flies by

A Mayfly’s life lasts but a day

A single day

To live and die

A single day

How fast it goes

The day

The Mayfly

Both of those.

A Mayfly flies a single day

The daylight dies and darkness grows

A single day

How fast it flies

A mayfly’s life

How fast it goes.

It starts like a rise of small trout. There are dimples on the surface, little fingerlings eating midges, perhaps. But these are no fish. The water breaks and up pop the wings of a Mayfly, then another and another. The hatch is on!

This legend plays out every year on calm, dark, humid nights in late May and early June. The mayflies make the television news by showing up on doppler radar or calling snowplows out of dormancy to remove layers of duns from bridges.

Mayflies have two adult stages. They first emerge from the water as duns (scientifically known as the subimago stage). They then molt into the spinner (imago) stage, in which they mate and die.

This poem is from the book The Llama Who Had No Pajama by Mary Ann Hoberman. Hoberman's poems, accompanied by Fraser's illustrations, have been delighting children for 40 years. Now, many poems from their out-of-print books are available in this fun collection. The selections are mostly humorous, sometimes contemplative, and deal with animals, family, play, and plain silliness.

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