Something Afoot

Something happened this afternoon, just as I was arriving home from walking the dogs. It’s something sad, be warned. Since I’ve decided to open this blog, I have been toying with the features and getting to know WordPress a bit, and hadn’t actually got to writing. Then I thought, what better way to start my blog than with a true story that would also help you get to know a bit about the author…

So there I was, walking off the path behind our house with the dogs—there’s a path that follows Monk’s Brook right outside our yard—when suddenly, crunch! I stopped, looked down. Low and behold, a crushed snail.

Now, I don’t know if this is an ‘English thing’, but where we live, the entire neighborhood is alive with snails. Most of them are huge, like, 1.5″ tall and more than an inch wide with their shells. (They are meaty and slimy, and help you to better understand the size of the pigeons.) Normally, they are out at night, or after a rain, not in broad daylight in the middle of the afternoon. But I digress.

Letting the dogs into the yard, I called for my 15 year old as back-up, and out we both went to look at the damage. For the record, all life is priority numero uno for me. As we gazed down at the wreckage, the poor snail was still alive, its little feelers feeling for the next blade of grass, seemingly oblivious to the open wound on its back where the bits of broken shell clung to its flesh.

Making matters worse (as if they could actually be worse), my son remarked on another snail, about half a foot away from the one I quasi-squished, that looked about the same size and was slowly progressing in the same direction. Were they friends? Were they traveling together? What had I done!?

Just then, as we stood hunched over a spot of grass, the neighbor came by with his ‘garden waste bin’. And the conversation went something like this:

“What ya looking at?”

“I crushed a snail.”

“Good on ya! Those things are pests. When I find one in my garden, I drive a trowel through it; cut it right in half.”

“Aww!” A moment of glaring silence. “It’s still alive. I don’t know if it’s suffering, but it sure looks hopeful. I’m trying to decide whether I squash it to put it out of its misery, or let nature run its course.”

“I could get my snail pellets…”

Now there were three of us hunched over a spot of grass, and I can’t imagine what bystanders might have thought. No matter. By now, the neighbor was chuckling, my son was amused, and I still didn’t know what to do.

“It really does look like a role-model for hope.”

“Yeah.” (This from the neighbor.)

“I think I’ll just… Relocate them both to a safer spot, and let nature take its course.”

“Yeah, get a trowel and leave them by those bushes along the brook.”

“Nah. I can just scoop them up with my fingers.”

Now he really starts laughing, “All woman, aren’t ya.”

Indeed.

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