Hint: They wiggle and are very beneficial to the garden
My daughter had not been fishing in about 30 years. When an opportunity came to go to Hagg Lake for trout fishing with her daughter's boyfriend, she quickly bought a license ($29 higher than the last one she bought), a carton of refrigerated worms and a bag of ice, and off they went.
She had made potato salad and tuna sandwiches and brought those along, with home-baked cookies for the boyfriend's healthy appetite. He rented a boat and brought rods, reels and lures for both of them. At the end of a fun day, she had caught five trout, and he brought in two.
The best part of this adventure, at least for me, was that she didn't need the worms, and the next morning I was allowed to set them free in our flower beds.
At first they just lay there as if stunned or dead, in closely wound piles.
I was pretty sure most of them wouldn't make it after being subjected to being so closely packed, riding in a car and a boat, and experiencing many temperature changes.
After a few minutes, though, the outer edges of the piles began to move. Slowly, slowly, each in its own time, they separated and slid off in different directions. The liveliest of the bunch seemed on a mission to get as far away as possible and in the least amount of time.
I was amazed at the distance this creature covered in about five minutes. It went 12 to 15 feet, over rocks and a wooden step, and ended up in the safety of a large patch of ground cover where it disappeared completely.
All of the others - even the ones that appeared dead for quite a while - had gone to their destinations of choice within 15 to 20 minutes.
The interesting part was how no two of them went the same direction. No buddy system seemed to be operating. Perhaps an imprisonment situation, in such close quarters, affects worms the same way it does humans. The need for space and solitude seemed so strong.
I was glad to be a part of the renewal of their lives. I'm sure they will do their part in aerating the garden for me, whether in gratitude or just by instinct. It really doesn't matter. I have asked to adopt any leftover worms from future fishing trips.
Lynn S. Turner is a Tigard resident who likes to look at the world in unusual ways.