In Honor of Worms

What could be closer to the Earth on Earth Day?

I’m sure my reputation as the “daffy old lady” of the neighborhood was bolstered this morning:  I was out plucking worms from my sidewalks and driveway, where they had wandered cluelessly after our first big rain of the season.

How can I justify wasting 10 minutes picking up worms?

I think this is the crux of Earth Day.  It’s sweet to visit a celebration at the local natural foods market (where you’ll get a grab bag of freebies, half of which will end up in a landfill.)  It’s also good to vent some frustration over legislators who can’t seem to put special interest aside and lead us off the path of self-annihilation.  But ultimately, saving the earth comes down to this:  Our Precious Time.

It takes time to ride the bus or bike.  It takes time to cart Styrofoam from the latest computer purchase to a special recycling facility.  It takes time to wash and dry produce bags for reusing at the store.  And it takes time to pluck worms from certain death by pavement dehydration.

Admittedly, my role as Protector of Worms is a fairly recent development.  For years, I never even noticed the worms underfoot.  When I finally became aware of their plight, I remember clucking my tongue and wondering at their silliness.  Why would a worm’s natural instincts lead it out to certain death?  Well, duh.  Because a worm’s natural instincts were not developed for a world that is 50% asphalt and concrete! That’s when the light turned on:  Maybe she who mucks up the natural scheme of things could at least take 10 minutes every so often to save the innocent lives affecting by her mucking!

And it can be a very win-win sort of thing.  I relocated a number of worms into my new vegetable gardens, then plopped a whole passel into my struggling compost bin.  I can’t wait to see the magic they work.  Oh and I also forced myself to do squats while plucking, so I got a 10 minute, sweat-inducing workout before 7:00 a.m.

Consider this:  What if earth worms decided they just couldn’t be bothered making the soil that grows our food?  We’re sort of in a symbiotic relationship, you might say, with even the lowly worm.

Happy Earth Day


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