Thursday, May 08, 2008

Earthworm Holocaust

I love a good thunderstorm or rain shower as much as the next weather lover, but every now and again I feel bad for our little friends, the earthworms. We've had a couple of decent overnight rain showers in the last month or so and I've simply loved hearing the trickle of rain on my skylight as I sleep through the night. Walking to my bus in the morning, however, is usually a depressing block and a half jaunt.

Now I'm not going to claim anything ridiculous like earthworms deserving as many rights as humans or starting a "save the worms" campaign, but I do get a little sad for the worms I see out in the street the day after a rain.

As it rains the ground gets saturated with water and the worms need to come up above ground until the water drains through. Living in the country I'd often see them coming up across the gravel of our driveway or making their way across the cement slab outside of the garage. Usually they'd make their way back to the grass and go about their business once the standing water had cleared away. Occasionally, however, you'd see a few that didn't make it and got dried up by the sun. It's sad, but there weren't all that many most of the time.

Here in town it is quite different. As the worms make their way out of the ground and search for a temporarily unflooded place to hang out for a bit many will crawl over the curb and into the road. Once they fall down that curb wall, they're pretty much goners. Having no way to climb back up the curb they're stuck facing down a long day of drying out in the sun. Sure, they'll try their hardest to hold on, finding some build up of dirt here and there or trying to make their way across the road to a better place, the fact remains they will never see their earthy homes again.

Yeah, call me crazy getting worked up over a bunch of earthworms, but I have an odd tendency to superimpose myself and fellow human beings on animal life. It keeps me entertained when I'm bored, ok? Anyhow, I imagine what a horrible thing it would be to suddenly be stuck in an area that you can't get out of and can't survive in for very long. Think about it. It's raining out so you run to try and get out of it only to fall over a ledge that you didn't see (because you don't have eyes... y'know because you're an earthworm) and now you're out of the rain but you're also sentenced to an inadvertent death sentence, and a long, drawn out one at that.

Now I don't really know where I'm going with this, but I guess the takeaway could be that it sucks balls to be a worm in the city on the days that it rains. So next time it's raining out and you're cursing yourself for forgetting your umbrella, don't get so worked up, it could be worse - you could be an earthworm inching towards its cement killer.

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