Amazing creatures, they spend most of their lives eating and growing beneath water, and then when their time has come to emerge from the water they spend a few hours looking for a mate, breed and then die. As adults they don’t even have a mouth or digestive organs they can use because they won’t live long enough to need them!
As a symbol they reflect perfectly the mortal state, being both short-lived and delicate. The word that always comes to mind is ephemeral, a perfect word to describe them (and without intention I have just discovered that in French they are called éphémère and in Spanish efímera, though maybe it was an association floating around the back of my mind).
There is something graceful and beautiful in their delicacy, and that is much like our life. When looked from a larger and longer view-point, aren’t we delicate? Aren’t our lives short? We are ephemeral creatures, living a short while and then disappearing.
For me, the brevity of life makes it so much more sweeter and intense than immortality, and full of beauty, distilled in the brief light of each day.