I stumbled across this article on earthworms as I was browsing the BBC news site, and it reminded me that I have been wanting to write about earthworms.
I can still remember the first time someone put one in my hand. I was probably 10 or 11 years old, it was the nice boy next door, who was doing some gardening for his parents, and I’m sure he thought he was giving me a gift. He placed the earthworm carefully in my hand, it wriggled, I shrieked, and my hand jerked up. The earthworm flew through the air and landed in a bucket of water, from which it was tenderly rescued by my neighbor. No reproaches were made, but he never gave me that chance again. (Which, quite frankly, was OK with me.)
Now, I know that earthworms cannot hurt me. I know they’re very good for the soil. And now, having read the BBC article, I know there are some really interesting facts about them. I even like watching them; I just don’t like holding them.
In the context of working on this blog I thought, “Maybe if I went about it with curiosity I could pick up and hold an earthworm.” Someone taught me a mindfulness exercise where you eat a raisin with great awareness. She said it’s fine if you don’t like raisins as the whole point is just to notice, not to judge the experience. I figured the same principle could work for me on earthworms. And it did (sort of). When I was out in the garden one afternoon I found a nice, not-too-juicy earthworm. I put myself into a curious frame of mind—What will it be like to pick him up, I wonder?—and picked him up, placing him on the palm of my hand. It lasted about three seconds. This time I didn’t expedite him into a bucket of water, I just let him wriggle off my hand back into the earth (without screaming). I guess I could say I have made some progress.