Today saw the first proper foray into the glebe. We are lucky here that we have a generous back garden and a substantial plot outside the front of the house upon which to park a nigh-on dozen of your automobiles. The back garden is, for the most part like the Garden of Eden - which is to say almost untouched by human hands. It also has some promise of being the next Garden of Gethsemane - which is to say that sufferings and agonies will unfold there in due course (when I called upon to tame the beast).
Anyway, I didn't come here to speak of gardens. Oh no - I have a far more pressing tale to tell. It concerns a happenstance meeting that I had whilst clearing a drain in the front drive-cum-garden. I met an earthworm.
As with all such things, if I encounter something novel or interesting, I holler for the Twins Aculae to come take a look. And this was a mighty earthworm. He was flourishing in the sodden mud that was blocking my soak-away, so much so that he claimed a private education, a couple of GCSEs and had had its first tattoo. One very satisfied wriggler.
And so the Twins emerged full-pelt, as is their wont, to inspect the latest marvel. They are less fearful of such things than, say, a year ago when they would run, hysterical, into the arms of their mother who in turn would frown at me. But no - on this day they were all push and grab. Poor earthworm.
I had to intervene. They were apt to rend the poor oligochaeta in two, with one grabbing the head end, the other the (I assume) arse end - though I concur: it is hard to tell. No girls, be gentle. This is a small mini-beast, soft to the touch and easily harmed. Learn to love little animals, I said. Gentle fingers, I reminded them. We admired the worm's wriggling and inquisitiveness (and possibly dread fear, who knows). They marvelled at how cold it was, how slimy, how fascinating. I had to temper their tendency to prod and poke as I was sure that the poor compost-maker would sustain injury. In the end, I chided the children and told them that if they can't be gentle they would have to go back indoors. They stopped podding, promptly lost interest and went about their business (terrorizing their mother, I think).
Then I did what we all do with such fragile garden beasts. I lobbed it about 15 feet into the nearest (dry, hardened) flower-bed so that it could escape. That won't have hurt the little blighter one bit, would it.