The photo of this poster wall in Prague got me thinking about the temporary nature of things. In a previous (temporary) existence, I was a librarian. Posters, from a librarian’s perspective, are collected as ephemera – printed material of passing interest. Careful retention of ephemera helps tell stories of particular times and places, of fashions and passions, of design and culture.
This wall would have looked different if I had returned to it a few days or weeks later. The posters are intended to be short-lived – temporary delights.
I’m a bit of a keeper when it comes to ephemera. I have theatre tickets, postcards and brochures that hold memories of people and things that held some importance in another time and place - reminders of temporary experiences and those connections that didn’t last.
If you happen to be a mayfly, the description as ephemera (derived from Greek – epi – and New Latin – hemera – to mean one day) has a particularly poignant impact on you. Scientists have classified mayflies in the Order Ephemeroptera, a short-lived thing on the wing as it were. As such, adult mayflies really have to make the most of the time available. The fact of here one day, gone the next, forces them to live in the moment and pay attention.
There are reminders everywhere that our lives are transitory. I’m thinking it would be a good idea to live like the mayfly – grab a whole lot of temporary delights, fast ones, still ones, moments where I pay full attention and string them all together into one amazing time – however long that turns out to be.