They're minuscule, spineless, blind, sluggish, and stupid; we barely notice when we crush them beneath our feet. Yet earthworms are crucial to our ecosystem. With their ingeniously designed bodies they plow through soil, enriching it with their precious poop, destroying harmful toxins, and transforming farmed-out dirt into rich loam. Plain and simple: Without the lowly worm, we wouldn't eat.
Accordingly, gardening writer Amy Stewart's splendid book The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms is nothing less than a love poem to the pinkish invertebrates that squirm in the dark muck. She brings their secrets to light: their hermaphroditic and quite sensuous sex lives, their endless feeding, their freakish talent for regrowing an entire body from a severed segment.
Learn how and why worms do what they do when Stewart hits town today with a box full of demonstration wrigglers and a mess of slithery anecdotes starting at 1 p.m. at the Crissy Field Center, 603 Mason (at Halleck), S.F. Admission is free; call 561-7690 or visit www.crissyfield.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Summer on the Lawn
Pack a picnic, grab some sunscreen, and join the Golden Gate Park Band for its 122nd year of orchestral noodling in our city's green oasis. The melodies begin this weekend at 1 p.m. (and continue each Sunday through October) at Strybing Arboretum, Ninth Avenue & Lincoln, S.F. Admission is free; call 831-5500.
-- Charyn Pfeuffer
In Full Flower
In Japan, cherry blossom time brings on a national frenzy, as crowds gather for the hanami, picnics held beneath the ephemeral flora. San Francisco catches the fever this week at the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, an ethnic street party featuring a parade, Asian arts performers, and food and crafts booths. You could go for the yakitori (grilled chicken) or the martial arts, but why not consider this your opportunity to celebrate the fragile flowers before they disappear? The fete begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday (and runs weekends through April 25) at various Japantown locations. Admission is free; call 563-2313 or visit www.nccbf.org for a schedule of events.
-- Joyce Slaton
Plaid fetishists, take note: Attractive young people, drunk ones, will magically appear in North Beach today, and one of their main reasons for doing so is to wear "visually violent" golf outfits. For the rest of you, it's Urban Golf time again! Get your putter out and prepare to follow a course set by crazies bent on cheap thrills and cheap beer. Meet at noon at Washington Square Park, Columbus & Union, S.F. The ball fee is $5; visit www.urban-golf.org for more information.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser