Earthworms Make America Great! EARTHWOOORMS

This was the title of the 2010 Kindergarten play at Highland School, as well as my mantra last Saturday morning. I have always been fascinated by the unique and useful lives that earthworms lead. As my family has been vermicomposting (the term I just learned for using worms in your compost) since before I was born, I have always regarded them as the gentlest, most efficient creatures—the unsung heroes of the soil. My mother (who never ceases to amaze me with her comprehensive knowledge of, well… everything) fostered in me a deep-seated appreciation for worms, bees, ants, and the like, and especially the impact that such creatures have on their immediate surroundings.

After volunteering with Kelly, Lucy, and Erin at the William Byrd Farmlet last Saturday, I have been thinking about the ways in which animals like earthworms and bees perform community service in every move that they make. The self-serving motivations by which I am so often driven are foreign to creatures that have such a dutiful and crucial purpose. An earthworm’s daily activity is to stir up the soil, providing space for other creatures and the roots of plants. Whereas I am constantly looking for possibilities for self-advancement and support—root-like, seeking out new areas for development—the earthworm is opening up avenues and opportunities for others. What creature could be more charitable? Our trusty friend and William Byrd Farm devotee, Matthew, has a little of the earthworm in him, as he designed a fellowship in order to oversee the farmlet and ensure that the work of the volunteers is consistent and effective. At the end of our work on the farmlet, after unearthing so many of these curious creatures when fetching mulch and weeding, the four of us Earth Lodgers lined the box that Josh made the previous week and transferred some earthworms from the confines of a trashcan into a breathable, ELL-filled crate. This, along with the company of Matthew, Lucy, Erin, and Kelly, was my favorite part of this first farmlet experience.

PLEASE, if you read nothing else of this post, read the beautiful poem by John Updike below:


We pattern our Heaven

on bright butterflies,

but it must be that even

in earth Heaven lies.

The worm we uproot

in turning a spade

returns, careful brute,

to the peace he has made.

God blesses him; he

gives praise with his toil,

lends comfort to me,

and aerates the soil.

Immersed in the facts,

one must worship there;

claustrophobia attacks

us even in air.

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1 Response to Earthworms Make America Great! EARTHWOOORMS

  1. Mike says:

    Shout out to Updike. Love that guy.

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