Quiet night… listening. The air is gentle, with mild warmth, but I am comfortable enough in my cotton pearl-snap button-up, jeans, and sandals.
It is during my third watch-o’er-the hours (approximately fourth ante Meridiem) that I noticed a curious array of Earthworms squirming and writhing upon the long sidewalk that leads ‘cross the vast front lawn of the grounds.
Curious and curious that so many of these Lumbricus Terrestris should choose a place of such detriment to their being.
Fleeing the moist earth and cool grass for the rough concrete, the same concrete that quickly bakes them in the heat of the morning.
When I first noticed this phenomenon, I would take the trouble to collect their frail bodies and hurl them into the safety of the lawn… while it was still cool and dark enough for them to seek shelter in the soil before Sunrise.
Yet, sure enough, I would step out for my final watch-o’er-the hours (approximately seven ante Meridiem) to find as many dried worm carcasses as I had attempted to rescue.
At first, I reasoned that it was a manner of biological rule of which I was not aware. Perhaps some instinctual eugenic development in which the aged would pursue certain doom for the sake of the species.
However, I could not identify any outward defect or consistent outward appearance of the creatures. Some were long and withered; others were plump and glistening with moisture.
Perhaps it was merely a hazard of proximity, merely “taking a wrong turn at Albuquerque” as a certain American philosopher was fond of musing. Yet, I would observe how they would turn back towards the walk when I moved them to either side of the danger.
Tonight I took one of them, as a “control” sample, and spent the better part of my “meal break” removing it from the walk. I would place it on either side, and yet it would find its way back. I even carried it into the centermost part of the front lawn, equidistant from the pavement on every side, and yet it squirmed headlong in an Easterly direction… choosing the direction that would take it soonest into the first burning rays of the Sun’s fire.
I must confess, this troubled me greatly… I could think of no scientific reason for a living creature to passionately seek its own destruction.
Philosophical, yes, Theological, certainly… but not within a purely naturalistic paradigm.
Of course, I could not help but think upon this as an illustration for such.
So, as I write these words, there are numerous blackened smears of dead Earthworms being greedily devoured by the Mockingbirds and Sparrows that flit about the grounds of my place of employ.
I meditate heavily upon all of the many children of the earth… of the keening throng whom hurl themselves heedlessly into paths of certain destruction.
There, but for the Grace of GOD, go I.