It’s been a strange week for animal activity.
Either drug use is on the rise in the animal kingdom, or they are succumbing to the same forces that are making humans stupid. I’ll let you be the judge.
Of Worms and Men
Speaking of worms, on my mid-morning walk yesterday, I saw an earthworm hoofing it across the sidewalk. Well, hoofing it is probably putting it too strongly.
Though his pace was impressive enough for an earthworm, it was not likely to get him into any record books. Or even to the other side of the sidewalk.
The concrete was already littered with the curled-up tooth-pick like mummies of his fellow earthworms whom had also set off across the concrete with nothing more than a spring in their setae and a song upon their prostomium, confident that they would reach the other side of the sidewalk and a better life.
I could have told them that there was nothing across that meter-wide stretch of concrete that was worth the trip, but you know how stubborn worms can be. They simply must prove things for themselves.
Anyway, being the magnanimous and caring person that I am, I thought I would give this little earthworm a hand. Actually, two fingers, for I quickly found out there is no graceful way to pick up an earthworm when they are flat upon the pavement. It is like trying to grab onto a pattern in the linoleum.
I also failed to account for the feistiness of your average earthworm.
Worms are often portrayed as docile and meek and retiring. I am here to tell you, they are quite ferocious and belligerent. As soon as my finger touched him, he began to trash about. He assumed an aggressive stance that, frankly, I found intimidating. The more I tried to pick him up, the more he lashed out at me.
But I would not be dissuaded. It was for his own good.
I finally managed to get a grip on him long enough to toss him back into the grass.
I then went upon my way, feeling that I had done a good deed for something that manifestly did NOT want to be helped.
I am sure when he tells the tale to his earthworm buddies at the ol’ watering hole, that it will not be a story of how he was rescued by a magnanimous soul, but one of how he fought off an alien abduction attempt single-handedly. Well … single setae-ly.
And his buddies will glance at each other knowingly as if to say, “Why do alien abductions only ever happen to bumpkins?”
Further along on that same walk, I heard a bit of a ruckus behind me and so I turned to see what it was all about.
Squirrels have a reputation for being nimble, sure-footed, and dexterous.
Along my walk I often see two squirrels playing with each other on and around an oak tree that towers about 40 meters up into the air. It’s trunk is a meter thick. I often see these two particular squirrels chasing each other around and around the trunk, their little claws scratching against the bark, as they incline (or decline) themselves helically around the tree’s Y axis. Up and down they go, round and around and around. They never seem to tire of their game of chase.
Today was no different. I heard the scratching of their claws against the trunk.
But then I heard a bit of silence, followed by a leafy plop and more silence.
I turned to see that one of the squirrels had fallen off of the trunk and plopped into the ivy that circled the tree on the ground. He looked a little sheepish (or squirrel-ish) as he scampered back up the trunk … though a bit slower than usual.
I walked away feeling gob-smacked. I did not know that squirrels could be clumsy.
But then again, I also did not know that worms could be feisty.