It is on occasion, after a day of drenching rain, they come out to play. Rain is music to their earthly souls, a primitive reminder of the percussion of sex, the need to partner-up and get down to some serious love making in the wet grass and dirt as lightning bugs and stars ramp up to flicker.
In the Amish Country, night crawlers are not neighborhood hoodlums. They don’t hang around on street-corners at two o’clock in the morning smoking pot. They aren’t out dealing Meth or accosting senior citizens for some meager amount of cash to buy a hit of crack cocaine.
In this neck of the woods, night crawlers are quiet and helpful. They are seriously industrious. They spend their days and most nights out of view burrowing about and enhancing the richness of our everyday lives for the pure joy of it. Their underground farming endeavors, unbeknownst to most, help feed the world; and for all you democratic socialists out there, you don’t even get charged for their vast experience in soil work, they do it for free.
I confess that I remain unamused by the human cults of socialism. I want to be free to create and get paid a fair price for what I do. Writing is a time consuming occupation and words as well as the paper they are printed on have no nutritional value unto themselves. Their value lies in the realm of spiritual and emotional food for readers willing to trade a piece of their income produced from occupations such as sawing wood or planting crops, building boats or mowing lawns. To put it bluntly, just as the night crawler cannot survive without soil and water, I cannot survive without readers.
Night crawlers gloriously present themselves in the night after a nice soaking rain by emerging from the earth and stretching out on the surface to bask naked in the starlight. They often find a willing partner and commingle in their night crawler secretions. They test their powers of elasticity and speed by keeping their butt ends in the earth and retracting quickly if you should disturb their bliss with heavy feet or a bright flashlight. When entering to tread there, you must be quiet and respectful of their world.
A dim flashlight swung slowly in an arc discerns their glistening presence on the periphery of the beam. It’s in this half-light one must snatch them with quick hands and a gentle touch to extract their tail end without breaking them in half. Picking crawlers is an art, it is a dance in the dark. It is a communion in the chain of life that keeps man humble and in touch with his place in the grand scheme of all living things. We, as humans, are not alone, we are caretakers intimately tied to nature’s cycles of give and take. We sow and we reap. We balance the scales or pay the price.
Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books