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.