Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Light a candle

As a public library cataloger, I get to look at lots of different books covering a vast array of subjects. Some of the most interesting are books are the ones aimed at elementary school kids: they cover the basics and whet the appetite. I enjoy working on a batch of Tween books, especially when the subject matter is animals or geography.

I worked on insect books this morning. As always, I learned something new. Fact: earthworms have bristles on their skin to help anchor their bodies to the dirt. As a gardener, I love earthworms (despite their creepy appearance). As a human being, I'm drawn to their vulnerability.

I have a habit of rescuing neighborhood earthworms in the morning after the sprinkler systems have shut off. I find their struggles to scale the curb heartbreaking. They'll never make it, of course. They lie writhing on the concrete, increasing in desperation until either a bird picks them off, a car crushes them, or they dry out in the relentless sun.

When I'm walking my dog in the morning I can't pass one by without trying to help. After a rain storm, it's impossible. I have to set a limit, and then turn away. I feel like the woman in the starfish parable.

But, to paraphrase a line from one of my favorite movies, I'd rather light a candle than curse the darkness.


pastgrace said...


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