Country diary: let’s hear it for the unappreciated earthworm

Country diary: let’s hear it for the unappreciated earthworm

Stamford, Lincolnshire: Waste managers and ecosystem engineers par excellence, they masterfully work, fertilise and irrigate our soil

I’m digging, and it’s a bad day for it. Moving soil from one place to another in a fog of breath, and after the dip in temperature, it’s hard. As the shovel goes into the soil in one place and the edge breaks into sections, I spy something. Something completely unusual. And entirely expected.

I peer at it, a glistening vein in the soil, like some kind of organic cable, or weird, flinching root. A pulsation runs down it, the sharp, low sun of the morning lighting it up amid the matt of unthawed soil. I know nothing about it – other than that without it, we’d be doomed.

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