A calendar discusses its lot. 2nd place in Personify Writing Contest, October 2023.
The mayfly is said to live for only a day. Just one day of frenzied dancing above the water, mating in an ecstatic moment, and then it’s goodbye world until next year brings another generation.
So it’s hardly for me to complain at having merely a year of life, a year quite clearly announced on my face and its beginning and end marked out for all to see. To a creature of multiple years such as yourself, it may seem a desperately short taste of existence, a mere sip at the draught of the wine of being.
But it’s all a matter of perspective.
To the mayfly, those few hours in the sun are filled with joy and delight at this flight in the bright light of a gorgeous day. Not for this creature of ephemeral being the sorrows and cares of a ponderous existence, the worries about the future, the consideration of what shall I eat and where shall I shelter. No, for the mayfly, life is crammed with an exuberance of unspeakable joy and sensation, a fiercely-burning spark of intense beauty and pleasure. Brief it may be, but happiness beyond understanding.
And I, as a calendar, might be considered to lead a brutally short and uninspiring life too. But not from my point of view.
I have purpose, you see. Though I dance not in the currents of a bright morning, as does the mayfly, yet my life has meaning out of reach for creatures as transient as them. My life may seem a dreary matter of staying where I am put, announcing with dread sameness the day and its number, how many have flown and those yet to come, but my purpose means that I know I matter in some small way at least.
It’s true that I lack the colourful pictures that grace the pages of my highborn cousins, but my simple and clear WDC design does not threaten to obscure the essence of my purpose. All too often, those monthly pictures draw the eye of the beholder away from the definite information waiting to be divulged lower on the page. I do not have that problem; if I am looked at, it’s for one reason only.
And this, my reason for existence, may lead to closer contact with an owner, as it does for me. Every day, at a certain time, my owner picks up the Bic ballpoint pen that lies beside me on the desk, and I feel the kiss of its gentle touch as the owner crosses off another day.
So we go forward into a future that is limited, it’s true, but that is the same for all of us. And, in the end, when all my pages have been torn off and screwed up, and my backing cast away as more fodder for the wastepaper bin, I can say, as the light fades, that I lived a useful life and fulfilled my purpose. It’s not the length of life that counts.
Word count: 499
For Personify Writing Contest, October 2023