Day 203 Clitellum

June 30, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th years where I write and illustrate a blog on each day’s gift.)

It’s not that I love earthworms so much but rather the sensory awakening that occurs when they crawl onto the sidewalk after a rain. I like the darkened drama of a summer storm—gray sky, cracking thunder, rhythmic rain, earthy scent of freshly moistened soil.  The gyrations of the annelid’s tiny glistening body remind me of the slithering of seasons through a lifetime and the comfort of seasonal repetition.

I wonder why this creature has left its natural surroundings for hard concrete. Many people believe it is to avoid drowning in the rain but it was not in danger of drowning. The rain actually makes travel easier for earthworms because they can move without drying out—a matter of life and death for them. They breathe through their skin, which must remain wet for oxygen to pass through it. 

My high school biology class dissected a worm. At that time, I thought it was the most uninteresting thing we could have dissected. I missed most parts we were supposed to identify, with the exception of the girdle, which is the organ near the middle of the body. I never learned in high school science class that this is called a clitellum, which swells and secretes nutritive liquid that makes reproduction possible. Was this too delicate for an all-girls high school class in the 60’s? Our teacher missed an opportunity to spice things up with a little sex and make us wonder if these two words have anything in common—clitellum and clitoris.

My gift today is a seasonal slither.
You can find links to my other posts on this project here:

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