As a child I remember going on walks with my mother after rains and seeing countless earthworms writhe on the sidewalk and the asphalt, escaping from their now-waterlogged topsoil home to breathe.
On these walks my mom would bring a small twig to save as many wriggling earthworms as we could before the sun came up and dried them out en route to what seems like a painful death. I watched as she coaxed earthworm after earthworm onto her twig before flinging them into the safer lawn. I pitched in, and without even realizing it I've unconsciously adopted the habit now. Whenever I see an earthworm crawling on the sidewalk I feel compelled to rescue it and put it back in the grass where it's safer.
As I flung an earthworm into my lawn the other day I thought about just how odd a family tradition this was. Sometimes it feels silly, because I'm honestly not even sure if this practice is doing the earthworms any good, and because there are so many earthworms we'll never be able to save. But at least trying reminds me that all life is sacred and that we should do everything in our power to protect it.