Wiggly Worm

Henrietta’s nose bumped the squishy brown cylinder with tapered ends. The wayward earthworm, far from dirt and grass, wiggled on the asphalt.

I watched.

Nose poke—wiggle. Nose poke—wiggle. Nose poke—wiggle.

Henrietta is a very lucky pup. Unlike Rufus’ owner dressed in creased pants and pointy toed flats, Henri’s momma wears tennis shoes and shorts. Henri’s allowed time to satisfy her curiosity….her momma, too.

Nose poke—wiggle. Nose poke—wiggle. Nose poke—wiggle.

When Henrietta tired of the game, I picked up the worm and tossed it onto the neighbor’s dew covered lawn.


The scene put me in mind of a substitute teacher who sometimes headed the kindergarten class I assisted. Thirty years of experience had taught Ms. Nelson how to work a room.

She’d gather the children on the carpet right after the morning bell rang. Through some sort of mystical intuition, she could sort the leaders from the followers, the timid from the bold, the wigglers from the focused. Instead of a reprimand, she’d call a wiggler to the front and have them perform some small task to bolster their listening skills. I was mesmerized by Ms. Nelson’s abilities.


I recently read about how horses choose a leader. The sensitive creatures do not choose the strongest, smartest, or most beautiful. They choose a leader who can feel the herd the best.

I wonder if Ms. Nelson was also a horse whisperer…..