Yesterday, we had occasion to be walking around the midday hour—a respite from work—when we spied a worm making his way across the sidewalk. Distant pastures always being greener, he had somehow got it into his head that “over there” was much better than “here” and, having surveyed the impending journey, proceeded with all the haste a worm could muster. No one, it seems, had indicated in clear terms that he was already on the healthier, bigger spread of sod.
It was a hot day—our sojourner had not checked the weather, either—and with the sun resting comfortably at its crest, the worm proceeded; and as the mercury rose, our expectations of his “making it” fell. Around him, glued to the concrete, lay the scattered carcasses of many who were equally called, but of none who were chosen. This was apparently not enough of a deterrent; and so he continued, in his wormy way, navigating around them. It was impossible not to pity this small creature embarking on a death-trip. Not being above drama, we became fascinated by what was surely his ignorance or his courage (or his foolishness, who can say?) and stopped to watch him inch slowly and slowerly to his own finality.
Had there been no one about, we would have felt compelled to bend down and whisper that he was going the wrong way. As it happens, an elderly woman with a Pekinese was approaching, so we resorted to planting one foot squarely in the worm’s path, hoping he would get the picture and turn back. He did not. The old woman had begun to stare, no doubt wondering what we were staring at; and so we moved on, but not without a sense of failure mixed with a hope that, should someone wiser than ourselves be looking down on our own misguided endeavors, he will place a foot in our path and—better still—that we will listen.