Hate is easier

snail on nasturtium leaf (some people hate snails)

“I hate snails!”

I have heard those words uttered in assorted shades of matter-of-factness, disgust, anger, as if snails’ only reason for existence is to destroy the speaker’s garden.

I love snails.

I lose myself in observing them explore their sliver of the world. I marvel at their agility.

To bridge the gap between where it is and where it wants to go, the snail stretches the front of its body as if it were a thick rubber band and reaches the destination, adhering firmly to it and testing that it can hold when the heavy rear becomes airborne. The stretching continues until I expect the snail to pop completely out of its shell. There is a suspended moment in which most of the snail is on the destination leaf, while the shell is still on the origin and a thin middle ensures the two halves are still one creature.

Then, as if at the end of a NASA-style countdown, the snail’s elastic body snaps back bringing the shell to the destination leaf. Reunited with its heavy-duty home, the snail rests for a bit and catches its breath, then resumes its exploration.

Every morning I get an opportunity to study snails’ prowess. They are fond of parsley, of the white chard growing in the middle of the garlic patch, and of kale. I may see a large leaf in the evening and decide to let it replenish its moisture during the night to harvest a plumper version the next morning. When the appointed time comes, I find a lace of leaf veins held by the stem where once there was an expanse of dark green leaf tissue.

I am not overly upset at the discovery that a kale leaf has been reduced to a skeleton by voracious snails. Snails teach me to be persistent, to divide the road ahead into small steps and take one at a time, prepare for it, execute it, then move on to the next one.

I don’t kill snails. I make sure my edible plants remain edible in sufficient amount and my seedlings get a chance to develop by drawing a thick circle of crushed egg shells around them. When I catch a snail in the act, or asleep with a full stomach, I relocate it together with the leaf on which I found it, so that it won’t be completely disoriented in its new environment — usually the compost pile — and will have something to eat until it can find a new source of nourishment.

My snail control strategy may seem silly and pointless. But when I feel in my bloodstream the hatred flowing freely around the world and flooding every corner of it, I must do something. Showing consideration for the life of a snail is my toothpick-size contribution to the beaver dam of love that every day hinders hate’s flow.


© 2015-2017 Simona Carini

2 thoughts on “Hate is easier

  1. No, not silly and pointless at all. Snails prove that sloth is not a deadly sin, but a proven method of getting from Point A to Point B.

    Lovingly written, Simona.

    I will always fail to understand why some of us expect other species to goose step to our human expectations. It appalls me that those who wax about their carefully tended gardens, sometimes are the first ones to drown the gophers, sick the dogs on the rabbits, and poison the squirrels. The Earth is to share. When benign fences and pepper sprays fail, a tribute basket of squash and other veggies left out every evening can divert a creature’s attention to easy eats. : )

    1. Thank you Susan for your note. I am glad you likes my post and agree with my approach. The Earth is indeed to share and I am grateful to the creatures big and small that remind me of that every day.

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