by Jake Hyslop
Ah, the rainy season is upon us. Despite the odd sunny, muggy day that Humboldt likes to shuffle into the fall and winter seasons like a wild card, it is getting cloudier and more drizzly, slowly but surely.
I quite like rainy weather, so I couldn’t be happier in that regard. With an umbrella or other rain gear, the inconvenience can be diminished into an enjoyable aesthetic. Sometimes I be out here just raw dogging the downpour with a T-shirt and shorts. Yes, swampy shoes are the worst, but watching where you step is an easy way to avoid that nightmare.
Speaking of watching where you step, that brings me to the point of this ramble. I am not the only creature who thrives in the rain (as are many of you, excluding the rainphobic). Allow me to paint a picture for you.
Thousands of students, staff, and faculty traverse campus on foot to some degree, day-in and day-out. They avoid puddles and stroll along the sidewalk to their class or job. Every once in a while, someone hears a crunch or a pop underfoot, but often it’s so small they think nothing of it. Little do they know, the blatant endangerment they are causing.
Yes dear reader, from the arboreal salamander to the simple snail, and all the slugs, worms, and more in-between, there is an entire ecosystem of creatures that love the rain more than we do. In fact, rain is an outright necessity for these creatures.
Snails and slugs rely on moisture to survive, making them extremely active during the rain. All kinds of worms use rainy days to migrate, as above ground is normally too dry for them. Salamanders and frogs migrate and breed in the rain as well.
These creatures have no choice but to sometimes venture onto the cold, wet pavement in order to fulfill their quests. But often, too often, they never make it.
That’s right. Martha the earthworm travels the equivalent of many human miles in order to meet her lover, Jim, only for her soul to be snuffed by a single checkerboard Adidas slip-on.
The worst thing about these literal crimes against nature, is that they are crimes of negligence. It is incredibly easy to not step on and crush a helpless critter. All it takes is a little look down every few steps.
Unless you have some sort of neck mobility issue, there is no excuse not to look where you’re stepping and avoid crushing a snail into paste. No, they cannot move to a new shell. That is a myth. Snails ride or die for their shell.
We cannot blame the critters for getting in the way. After all, there didn’t used to be concrete on their path. We must be better. Next time you’re out on your travels during a particularly damp day, think of the critters and watch where you step.