Wednesday, May 01, 2013

How far can an inchworm see?

Not long ago, I looked out of a second-story window in my house and saw an inchworm making its way down one corner of the bricks towards the ground. I wondered how long it would take that tiny pilgrim to reach the ground. I wondered if it would get discouraged by the tremendous distance it had to travel before it reached the ground. I wondered if it knew where it was going. I wondered how far it could see.

Soon thereafter, I was on a walk with a friend of mine and we walked through dozens of inchworm silks. Dozens. We spent the rest of the day pulling and flicking inchworms off of each other. Hours later, after we had traveled more than 100 miles to the beach, we still found inchworms on each other and in her car. She, being the animal lover that she is, stopped and patiently pulled them off herself, gently and thoughtfully. I saw one on the inside of the driver's side window of her car - and she pulled over to the side of the road, got out of the car, and released it back into the wild.

Once again, I got to wondering:
* Where will all these displaced inchworms go now? They are so far from home.

* Do they feel displaced or am I projecting human fears and emotions onto those bright green creepy crawlies?

* What is home for an inchworm?

* Do they care where they are, where they are going, and where they eventually land?

* Perhaps the most important thing is to be alive, to be on the journey, and to enjoy the adventure.

I have no idea how far inchworms can see, but I tend to believe that they can't see far. After all, their bodies are tiny, their brains are miniscule, and their eyes are smaller still. Plus, no matter how far they can see, they are still vulnerable to the wind and to passersby like my friend and me and our unwitting imposition of ourselves into their peaceful voyages.

Plus I would imagine that they don't have any particular destination in mind when they set off down their spindly web lines and make their way from tree branch to... wherever they land.

Sometimes they land on the ground beneath the tree where they are hatched.
Sometimes they land on a car beneath said tree and are whisked hundreds of miles away.
Sometimes they land in the hair, on the backpack, or on the shoulders of walkers and bikers below.
In any case, in every case, inchworms land where they land, hang on for the ride, and later when they reach the ground and find their footing again, the journey continues.
Come what may, no matter where they find themselves, the pilgrimage continues.

I'm sure there's a life lesson in there somewhere.


Paul Bock said...

Great story Gail...and so as the inchworm continues on its journey, so we All shall on Ours. Wishing you continued Healing Gail on this most Beautiful May 1st and beyond.



Carol said...

Okay. Out of Lurksville I come. Don't ask me why it happens now. Something just led me to, like the inchworm is led to wherever it's going. Anyway, I have been reading your blog ever since you were mentioned on Momastery (another place I lurk). I am embarrassed that I comment now when you write about inchworms, when I didn't as you prepared for surgery. The only way I could change that would be to not comment now, and that's not going to happen. I enjoy thinking about inchworms, birds, any animal really, because they just do what they do. Right here, right now, without judgment. They are my teachers.

I send you hugs and good wishes for complete healing. Thank you for sharing your well-lived, inspiring life. I learn from it.

Kate S said...

love this, Gail :)