Earthworms’ Castings


By Jean Ponzi

Self-Talk Slugfest

For many years, about myself I said, “I’m a slug.” 

Meaning preferring to fart around, fundamentally lazy. Disinclined to do stuff, especially what I’m expected to do – and how I believe I’m expected to do it. 

As an inner criticism, it’s not totally true. But worse: this description maligns a whole genus of perfectly respectable mollusks, in the classic human habit to diss through comparison to ourselves. Me Homo sapiens! Me know best! NOT.

Sure a slug can chomp right through your garden, but everybody’s gotta eat. These slow slimers, like everyone else in The Circle of Life, contribute valuable ecological benefits. By their very time-consuming nature, slugs are easy catches who nourish many kin. 

Soil Ecology Wiki says:

  • Slugs play a pivotal role in the environments where they are present. They provide an abundant, protein rich food source for a variety of predators, from toads to shrews, foxes, and many bird species.
  • Slugs are mainly important because they provide a food source for predators which are key control methods for other pests in the environment (emphasis mine). For example, if toads are attracted to an area with high slug populations they can feed on, they will also consume pests such as mosquitos that are present, helping to maintain a more balanced ecosystem.
  • Slugs are also important as decomposers. Slugs will eat a variety of rotting plants, animal droppings, or even carrion, resulting in the breakdown of organic material and a release of nutrients back into the soil. 

Professionally and personally, I’m a Decomposer Ally. My longest serving body of work, my enviro-interview show Earthworms, is my totemic link to these Food Web Wonders. 

So I set myself a practice: no more pejorative calling anyone a slug, especially me. 

I might, however, slug-name you to praise your appetite for greens.

This has proven good practice, for a person who also says of herself, “In any kind of practice, I totally suck.” 

Do we see a pattern here? Self-talk, especially s-words, that dis-empower valuable functions, especially for a person committed to speaking well and truly, in the service of transforming human relations to Nature.

Suck! Another fine function reduced to a slur. Where sucking is dishonored, how will mammal babies eat? At least I haven’t been berating with “In practice, I suckle.” Small graces.

I value the opportunity to deeply examine how my habits of inner criticism, my stinkin’ thinkin’ so to speak, are sinking my capacity to serve what I see as my Purpose In Life. 

Now to dig this awareness into practice. 

Lettuce leaf the chronic critics to compost in their slime.

Jean Ponzi, lover of worms and words, shares Green Views You Can Use through her podcast Earthworms, at www.KDHX.org, from St. Louis Independent Media.