Coastal areas with their sea turtle preserves have nothing on red clay states like Georgia and Alabama.
Yesterday morning I was walking Duncan. The sky was just a little lighter than the gray of the asphalt paving of my apartment complex. It was warm for a January morning, and the rain had just stopped. As we made our way around the buildings, one sniff at a time, I began to notice earthworms. I will always notice a worm. I invariably think back to when I was a kid we would go digging for worms to take fishing. Back then, I almost never found any, so whenever I see them now, I notice.
These were perfect conditions for them to come out of their dirt to…well, to do whatever it is that earthworms do. Except, I think ideally, they would come out of their dirt to explore more dirt–not pavement. I noted to Duncan, who was mostly ambivalent, that there sure were a lot of worms out. We turned a corner and sidestepped a large puddle under a cypress tree, when I looked out into the street between the buildings. There, spaced out across the deep gray like long flesh-colored surfaced submarines, were about a hundred worms. Sadly, some of them had been flattened by early morning drivers.
It was one of those sights I will stop to see. I took hope for a minute when it looked like more of them were nearing the curb, approaching safety. But taking a deeper look, it was clear they were not coming but going–further out in harms way. I hoped again for the best, since it was still early and the college kids had not awakened and headed to Starbucks in their cars. They would most likely not notice the wriggling armada.
Two hours later Duncan and I made our second round of the day. When we got to that same spot, I saw not a single worm, dead or alive. Maybe they were washed away; maybe they made it. I do not know.
Some people take time to smell the flowers or see the beauty in a sunset. I’ll do those things too, but I’ve learned there is something majestic in the resolve of hundreds of earthworms that know when it is time to emerge.
More on this later.