It was the garden.
And everything was dead.
The worst part was that it was a sign of my neglect. After the first frost I didn't go out and clean it all up like I should have. I let it fester.
So, realizing I would not have many more opportunities, I grabbed my gardening gloves and marched (read: waddled) out. I began with zeal to fill an entire garbage can with mouldering tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupes, squash, carrots, beans, and flowers.
I was pretty depressed about all the deadness surrounding me until I caught a glimpse of something red and shiny perched on one of the slimy old tomato branches that was about to go into the trash.
She was waving a white flag, and she wasn't dead at all.
We greeted each other warmly and she did some calisthenics on my glove before moseying over to a pile of corn husks, where I hope she has a mate and is having gillions of babies.
As I rooted around in the dirt I began to see a little movement, and then more and more until there in front of me were a bunch of pink, wriggling things.
That's right. Worms. Hundreds of them. Long ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones. All happy. All fed. All on the lookout for worm love.
If dogs are man's best friend, then worms are the gardener's.
So I took heart. The garden isn't dead. It's just sleeping.
And it's going to be a good year.