An Ode to Earthworms

It rained last night, hard enough to wash earthworms into the streets. I used to try to relocate them back to the dirt but nowadays I just wish them luck or farewell. (Turns out to be crazy hard to pluck them from asphalt without hurting them.)

Earthworms have always intrigued me, from the days I used to dig to China in my backyard and they would slip away from the edges of my hole.  They move like a sound wave or certain earthquake waves, by contraction and expansion. They can live for a decade! I just learned from Wikipedia that they include a few, wide-ranging species which are called cosmopolitan earthworms.

And of course, if you are a gardener, they are your special allies. When they move through the soil, they make it looser – they are better aerators than any device. As a bonus, their excretions are a terrific fertilizer. I know somebody who enslaves earthworms to gather their pee and pour it at the feet of her flowers. The flowers do indeed thrive. Maybe it isn’t a horrible life for the worms. They live in a black plastic tub, but she is always feeding them treats like watermelon she buys especially for them. Still, I keep hoping for the right windstorm that will tip the tub and free the worms.


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