More than 20 years ago, my high school gym class went out to the track after a heavy rainstorm. The oval was littered with earthworms, stranded by the storm. It was nearly impossible to find a place to put our feet without stepping on one of them.
My squeamish teenage self freaked out. Yuck. Worms. I couldn’t imagine touching them, feeling them wriggle in my hand.
Fast forward to today.
A few years ago I bought a Can-O-Worms vermicomposting system. Now that we live in a small condo, my worm farm lives in the shower in our guest bathroom. Just before Thanksgiving I ordered a Soil Sifter Pail Buddy to make processing the compost easier.
Yesterday I assembled the Pail Buddy, and tonight I sat in the bathroom, up to my wrists in compost, casually tossing red wigglers back into the Can-O-Worms trays.
And then I remembered high school gym class.
When I wrote a few days ago about being discouraged, I was mostly talking about being discouraged about myself. About living with my personality, my quirks, my shortcomings. About things I’d like to change about myself. Changes that seem impossible.
I don’t know how that squeamish teenager became a carefree worm farmer. It was a gradual, unconscious change.
I get discouraged every time another of my self-improvement schemes fall flat. But sometimes, when I step back and look at the big picture, I can see the good changes I’ve made.
At this time of year, when the days are short, I need that big picture view.
Even if it’s just that I’m no longer afraid of worms.