As I was out for a walk today, I came across what can only be described as a worm graveyard: A stretch of sidewalk about 100 yards long, littered on both sides with dried worm carcasses. (and surprisingly taste like jerky.*)
What a miserable existence. Overrun in your own home by an essential element of life, slithering your little invertebrate body to a supposed safety only to escape the torrent and be charred to a crisp over a matter of time by the withdrawal, the denial, of that very same element.
Too much or too little.
Oh sure, there were a few sluggish hangers-on strewn amongst the carnage; probably wondering why all these huge feet keep walking by not bothering to take pity on a lowly worm and kick him back to the cool of the morning grass; or searching for their lost friends and wondering why they’re surrounded by all these tiny brown shoelaces.
And, I’m sure a few nimble, swift worms made it back to their grassy homelands after the rains stopped, high-oneing each other and reveling in their own abilities, talents and good fortune.
But way too many were mere dried up, hardened shells of their former selves; deprived, in an instant of hasty decision, of a necessary component of their existence by a misplaced sense of survival.
Then again, there were probably many that didn’t even make it out of the earth. Besieged by the downpour. Overwhelmed by too much of what in normal circumstances is a good thing. Drowned by the sudden onrush of a life-giving ingredient because they were in too deep, or took too narrow a route, or simply thought they could handle it. Not dried-up and hardened, but bloated and waterlogged: They’re still just as dead as their little shoelacy friends.
Oh well. I feel bad, but really the only thing I can do is just continue in my own walk and try not to step on them, adding insult to injury. Besides, I can’t really tell the dead ones from the mostly dead ones, and it just doesn’t feel right to kick them to the side when they’re already down like that. All I’ll most likely do is squish them with my heavy-footedness in the process.
In time, more rain will surely come, washing the sidewalks clean. Or maybe just replace the old carcasses with new ones and the cycle of life will continue. They’re just worms after all.
And that’s what we’re talking about here, right? Just worms?
(* And no, I didn’t actually eat the worm carcasses. But, made you look!!)