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Rejoicing in Worms

earth worms
May 15, 2012

Yesterday, while loosening the soil in one of my raised beds, I was suddenly overwhelmed with worms, many worms, crawling everywhere across the surface.  In the image above, there are at least ten worms.  I was not surprised to see them, but I was surprised to see them in such great number.  This warmed my entire day as I knew now that my work over the past seven years has not been in vain; the health of my soil was confirmed. 

And I felt a kind of earthly fellowship, for I knew now that I had many helpers, most marvelous creatures, helping me in my soil building work, earth building work.  In fact, they are the real workers, as I provide them, and all their fellow creatures, with materials for the transformation of the earth.

I am reminded of Darwin’s comment in his last book, “Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, with Observations on their Habits”:

“When we behold a wide, turf-covered expanse, we should remember that its smoothness, on which so much of its beauty depends, is mainly due to all the inequalities having been slowly leveled by worms.  It is a marvelous reflection that the whole of the superficial mould over any such expanse has passed, and will again pass, every few years through the bodies of worms . . . The plough is one of the most ancient and most valuable of man’s inventions; but long before he existed the land was in fact regularly ploughed, and still continues to be thus ploughed by earthworms.  It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures.”

Homage to the lowly worm!


Great post. Have you seen the book "The Earth Moved" by Amy Stewart? It will make you want to rejoice even more.
Thanks, Roger. I have not seen the book, but I shall! Thanks for the lead. rv
Thank you - and if you have Darwin in your library, I would love to see an excerpt in the context of gardening every so often!
Jessica: Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate it . . . Regarding future excerpts from Darwin, I can only say that I'll continue to follow the worm trails wherever they may lead. Best wishes to you, rv
Persephone's part remains fascinating, in times ancient and present.
I had never heard/made that connection before, antonis! Very good! :-)
Oh my, it is wonderful! Just yesterday I was turning my compost bin and the top fell off and some of the compost spilled out on to the ground. To my amazement, in just a small amount of compost, there were earth worms abound! I was ecstatic to see this! I think it's my best compost ever!

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