Up close

I have been digging up weeds in my garden and I have been learning about worms. They are amazing creatures, moving tons of earth every year, adding nutrients to the soil and making drainage holes that allow minerals to run deep into the ground and feed the plants that grow there. Yet there is very little research about worms and big farms make it almost impossible for them to work the fields, despite the good they do.

If you hold a worm in your gently closed fist, you will feel the strength of them as it tried to push its way out of the prison of you hand. Place it on a piece of paper and listen carefully. You will be able to hear the bristles on its underside as they scratchy scratch across its surface. The worm doesn’t walk, it moves using two sets of muscles, extending and contracting along the whole length of its body.  The bristles help it gain purchase as it moves.  What you may think is a short fat worm can stretch out long as thin – as long as 18 centimetres as it pushes itself along. It looks a bit like sausage meat being pushed through its casing, narrowing and bulging.

Hmm … rather a lot about worms. But I have been excited to look and feel and listen up close. Why don’t you have a look at a worm, or another small creature or object and see what you can see. Write it down. Make all the details add up. 

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