Worm's Turmoil

This morning I awoke and decided that instead of rushing around juicing carrots, making homemade broth and miso for my mother who was still recovering from surgery in the nursing home, I would take some time for me. I lolled in bed leisurely, trying to ignore that guilt-inspired need to hurry. After checking email and goofing around on Facebook for a while, I laced up my trainers and went out for my 5 mile loop. After 2 days of rain and being shut up visiting Mom, I was ready to enjoy the warm, clear spring morning.

I didn’t make it very far before I started to notice several worms on the wet pavement beginning to writhe in the warm sun. I picked them up, one at a time and tossed them into the grass; however, this didn’t seem sufficient to save their little lives. As I continued along, stooping every couple of feet to pick up another suffering worm, I began to notice that their numbers were increasing. In the shade of a wet leaf I would find thirty or more huddled together trying to maintain moisture. 

I scooped up handful after handful of wriggling earthworms and laid them carefully in shallow trenches I scraped out with a stone, covering them with clods of cool moist soil. Some struggled to escape from my cupped palm, while others were very reluctant to have me pick them up at all, despite the fact that they were facing certain death. A few worms actually began to move toward me after I had liberated their compatriots from the rapidly warming tarmac; I felt that they sensed on a psychic level that I was there to help. 

My walk had to be abbreviated to a mere 2 miles that day, rescuing worms took precedence over working off last night’s pizza. The sun was high by the time I made my way back along the road where the worms had been; their dried up dead bodies littered the pavement. It made me sad to see the clumps -mass graves of worms- that I hadn’t reached in time. Next time the sun comes up after a long, soaking rain, I intend to get out earlier and collect as many as I can rescue and relocate them to my garden or compost pile.


  1. Thank you! I enjoyed reading this. As mother to a wonderful 11 yr old son, I have discovered within me a fondness for worms that I would have previously thought impossible. Having a son at 45 yrs of age (his sisters are 26 and 29), I have discovered a lot of things about myself! I am homeschooling him and having a ball! When we decided to start gardening, it opened up a whole new world for me. Being a city girl and growing up with allergies and asthma I had limited exposure to mother nature in terms of gardening. The thought of dealing with worms grossed me out. But as I began to work with my son and try to teach him something I was only just learning myself,I discovered a wonderful thing. He was actually teaching me! One of the things he taught me was that once you learn all the wonderful ways worms help us, they aren't so gross after all. Watching him watch worms, and handle them as he "fed them", I found I lost my revulsion. Several times we have rescued a wayword worm from the concrete and placed it back where it belongs. We are currently learning to compost and now need to find some worms. You know what? It's raining right now. I think we'll go outside in a bit and see if we can resuce some worms.