Monday, August 9, 2010

HANGING BY A THREAD

A few minutes ago I found this fine green inchworm suspended from it's silken thread in my doorway. The little inchworm—actually more like an-inch-and-a-half in length—dangled like a spelunker who'd come to the end of a too-short rope while descending into an abyss. It's hot here along the riverbank today, pushing 90˚F, and only the occasional slight stirring of a breeze came whispering along to barely spin the hanging creature. Things looked perilous
Inchworms are the caterpillars of Geometridae moths, a family that contains upwards of 35,00 species worldwide. They have three pairs of legs at their front end and two pairs at the rear—at least this one did, though some inchworms only have a single set on the back end. Their unique way of moving—rearing on their hind legs, lunging forward, then "inching" their rear-end forward as their mid-body slackens to form a humped-up loop—is quite distinctive and gives them their other common name, "measuring worm."
Inchworms can be a pest in the garden, nibbling the leaves of various plants and trees. They often use their "threads" as a safety rope, dropping from a leaf when faced with danger, where they then hang suspended. Their silk, similar to that of a spider's, hardens while they're waiting. When the threat has passed, the inchworm climbs back up it's safety line and resumes eating.
I found myself identifying with that little green inchworm. I've been there, too, both literally and metaphorically…at the end of my rope, dangling, spinning slowly, just hanging on by a thread, waiting for danger to pass and hoping I could somehow climb back up.
We all have our inchworm days.
———————

20 comments:

Bonnie said...

We do all hang by such fragile threads. Somedays we are more aware of our precarious hold on life than others.

Your post reminded me of a little song I used to sing to my children while bathing them:

"Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds you and your arithmatic.
You'll probably go far.
Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds;
Seems to me you'd stop and see how beautiful they are."

Thanks for the nudge bringing up a sweet, little memory.

Gail said...

HI GRIZ_

excellent metaphor. I SO agree. ANd again, that 'green' is spectacular. Wow.

I am hanging on with this discomfort from the icy-hot pins and needles - I called the doctor, again. Not sure, what if anything, can be done. Sigh.


Love you
Gail
peace and hope.....

George said...

These are amazing shots, Grizz. To get the light on the thread against the black background! I don't know how you did it, but it's spectacular. It's also appropriate, as I am having my own little inchworm day today. Thanks for the interesting post.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

Indeed—life is tenuous and wonderful. Both are worth keeping in mind.

I liked your little inchworm song, though I've never heard it and so don't know the melody. However, I'm truly pleased that my post has brought back this lovely moment for you.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

I expect it's my Irish blood that draws my attention to all things green, and often subsequently compels me to take their portrait.

I hope you're feeling better, and that something can be done to help relieve or better manage your discomfort. Hang in there…you'll find strength.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

George…

Yeah, I had something of my own "inchworm day" today, too. But it all eventually comes down to a simple choice—hang in there or drop off and freefall until you hit bottom. And while the temptation to choose the latter may be great, and the bottom too far down there in the darkness to see, it's ALWAYS there, and hitting it at whatever velocity will hurt more and do more damage than summoning, redoubling your grip, and hanging on.

The shot was just framed against a shadow so the light caught the silken strand and became visible. I don't know if you can see it or not, but the hanging inchworm is saying, "cheeeeeese!"

The Weaver of Grass said...

I hope you gave it a helping hand. When we have our inchworm days - and oh yes, we all have them, they are always helped if there is a steadying hand nearby.
Lovely post.

Nancy Tapley said...

The inchworm song is a classic... this is the Muppet's version. We used to sing this as kids, with my Mom, in the garden, and I still find myself humming it when I'm in the marigolds.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0lQ0bdcjfY&feature=related

Tramp said...

That thread must be remarkably strong.
...Tramp

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

Actually, by the time I'd written and posted the post, and returned to the doorway…the dangling inchworm was gone. Either down to the deck, or back up into the tree—though maybe a bird on the wing got him. But whatever, without my help.

However, I intended to help—just as when we have our "inchworm days" I always try and help, and hope when it's my turn, I'll find a sympathetic word or hand.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Nancy…

I have to tell you, I was almost afraid to go there and listen, given how many Muppet songs already rattle around in my head with a penchant for getting stuck for hours. But…I listened anyway, and to a couple of other versions. It's cute. But though Sesame Street saved my life when my daughter was little, I swear I somehow missed this song.

Thank you for send the link, though. (If I'm still humming it by Friday, however, I may rescind that thank you! Just kidding… :-D)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Tramp…

Indeed it must. I expect—though don't know—that it's like spider silk when it comes to tensile strength, and that's stronger than steel. Nature is amazing.

Bernie said...

Life is fragile my friend, and I love how you used this little inchworm to describe how fragile it looks yet how strong that that thread can be.
We all carry burdens, and some will see the blessings in each burden we carry. Life is good, God is good and I love this post.
.........:-) Hugs

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

Oh, my! You put it far better—how fragile life looks, " yet how strong that that thread can be." And while we all experience hardship, "some will see the blessings in each burden we carry."

Wonderfully said. Thank you, and God bless!

Wanda..... said...

Anne Murray, the Canadian singer has a lovely vetsion of the Inchworm song!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2sKQReBgdI

Think I will go out and look for an inchworm or other beauties, before the heat of the day gets worse!

Murphyfish said...

Hello Griz,
Just came across your blog via a link from SBW, very happy that I did so if you don't mind I'll tag along for while if you do not mind.
regards,
John

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

I tried a hour at the prairie up the road yesterday, smack in the middle of the day, and thought I was going to drown in my own sweat! Even the bugs were listless and/or hiding in the shade. Took me most of the afternoon to recover. I hope your amble this morning was more enjoyable.

I'll check out that Anne Murray version. She's one of my favorite singers.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Murphyfish…

Hey, I'm glad you found your way to the riverbank and pleased you liked what you saw here…at least so far. This is not a fancy place with highfalutin standards and ideals; just a comfortable gathering for those who love woods and waters and the critters therein, and like to have a bit of fun now and then. It helps if you like backroads and muddy trails, the smell of pines and the sound of the wind on a winter's night, and remain convinced country cookin' and a long drink of sweet water from handpump well trump most anything served in a restaurant. If you like dogs, that'll earn you bonus points.

So stop by for a visit any time you like. Make yourself at home. You're always welcome.

P.S. That's a great blog header photo of the boots.

Murphyfish said...

Griz,
I do believe that myself and the bog monster will feel right at home here.
Cheers,
John

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Murphy…

That's our aim. Again…welcome!