Why do creatures do what they do? Consider, for example, the various activities of a mole, a worm,  a boy, and the driver of a mechanical digger.

Moles spend most of their time underground. They dig tunnels, eat – rapidly and often – and sleep (not a lot, because of their need to eat.) They are extremely effective diggers and the earth they excavate ends up on the surface of grass, usually in neat round piles of what appears to be pristine soil. Gardeners are conflicted: some love the soil and gather it for compost; others loathe that their precious lawn has been messed up.

Worms spend much time underground too. Some species of worm excavate and excrete casts of slimy soil onto the surface of the ground, for interested parties to ponder the curly pattern created.

On a recent cold spring day, a boy and his dad chose to dig two holes on a Norfolk beach, then created a tunnel between the two, much to the delight and satisfaction of the excavators.

Lastly, mounds of broken chalk rubble appeared in seemingly random places on a hilly field. The driver of a bright yellow mechanical digger had excavated large holes – then covered them up again. Research for a building project?

Each of these scenarios may make an observer ask, “Why?” And varying answers come to mind. My random observations of tiny bits of life’s rich tapestry may be of little interest to you. Fair enough. But as W H Davies wrote, “A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.”



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