One morning a couple of weeks ago, our yard, and those of many others in our neighborhood, displayed an amazing layer of green, wiggling, inch long worms, squinching their way all over our house, our cars, and our oaks and maples. With each successive morning, these (at first) cute creatures made our yard look like a scene from a science fiction movie. We weren't too disturbed, initially, figuring they'd disappear in a few days.
Wrong. They spread to the lilacs, the dogwoods in bloom, the azaleas, hostas, and ourselves. We couldn't get out of the house without a broom to knock down the webs dropping the worms from trees like paratroopers invading enemy territory. No one came back into the house without a partner to pluck the green, and now black and green, invaders from our backs and our hair. I used the garden hose, set on "blast," to drive them from the front of the house and our windshields.
We couldn't get the upper hand. The worst was that all the beautiful new growth, that sparkling green in the trees, the new shoots of peonies, disappeared. The worms grew fatter and bolder. The oaks looked as if Agent Orange had decimated them. Azaleas resembled brown lace. My joy in the new spring plummeted. We'd jumped from winter into late fall, with everything bare and barren once more.
I decided to rally myself mentally. If the worms were part of a strange cycle of these bloodworts (as the newspaper said they were properly called, not "those nasty things" we had named them), I had to trust reports that the trees would recover. Everything would bloom again. Sure enough, only a few worms remain, and I can see that the trees are beginning to recover. Tiny buds pattern against the sky when I look upward.
This has reminded me that we can't crumple under an onslaught of the strangely incomprehensible, the ugly, and the destructive. Criticism of our creative work, coming from our own doubts or outside "critiquers," can eat away at our new growth. Don't let it. The nibblers that want to eat our joy in what we do, as creative people, can only ingest so much, then they'll die away, naturally. Because we will bloom again. We'll keep on growing as writers and artists, despite any attempts to stunt our growth.