Was it worthwhile for a mayfly to have been born, to have been a worm for weeks and a bride or a bridegroom for one day, only to perish? Such is not a question to which Nature will give the human mind an answer. She thrusts us all into life, and with her hand propels us like children through the role she has alloted for us. You may weep about it or you may smile; that matters only to yourself. The trees that live five hundred years, or five thousand, see us human mayflies grow and mate and die while they are adding a foot to their girth. Well might they ask themselves if it be not a slavish and ephemeral soft thing to be born a man.
More information on our Almanac For Moderns project and the work of Donald Culross Peattie can be found here.