Month: March 2020

A Sickening Snail’s Pace.

In our quarantine, we have found a rhythm to try and keep each day in its proper place.  Wake up.  Yoga.  Shower.  Drink coffee. Walk the dogs.  Then there’s the span in the middle that gets muddled.  Then dinner, another walk, and watch the sunset from the front porch and wonder where the day went before the muddy end with a movie or books or trying to stop working but feeling guilty if I don’t get one more thing done but there’s never time to have a break.  Through most of it, I am calculating when the living starts.  Presence isn’t my strong suit.

This isn’t so different from my normal life, except with running water and the consistent walk through the orange groves surrounding my Someone’s childhood home in Central California.  I wish for rain most days.  I like the weather matching the mood.  And lately, it’s complied, and caused new problems.  Any time I get what I want, it usually causes new problems.

I’m a vegetarian by choice, though I suspect also by nature.  It’s a difficult and conflicting reckoning for me in matters of pets and food, swatting mosquitoes and crying over grasshoppers.  For years, maybe in thanks to the racing snail in Neverending Story, escargot had been at the top of my cognitive dissonance list.  And with the recent rains I asked for, the snails have been creeping out every which way in the orange groves.  Including under my feet.

Our mental health walks became mental catastrophes.  I hopped around them, moving quick like a bunny, only finding the death toll increasing.  Then I tried moving slow, accidentally crushing one while avoiding another.

000573850008There’s a pandemic out there, I’m aware.  There are bigger, faster problems than snails.

But maybe it goes like this:

I wanted to give up.  And for a few steps, I did.  I closed my eyes and walked ahead, telling myself that the unfamiliar crunching wasn’t a real life.  It was a rock.  That it didn’t matter.  That my plans shouldn’t be disrupted by a crummy dummy little snail.  That it was beyond my control.  But then something pushed hard into my brain under my closed eyes and heavy feet–

You have to try.

You have to try.

You have to try.

Maybe one snail less in the world isn’t going to matter to anyone.  But it might.  So I opened my eyes again and looked down.  I tried.  Not always with success, but I tried.

I’m more grateful for sunny days on our walks.  I found a few crushed shells along the way.  When the crowded chaos is gone, the loss is much easier to detect.  I worry that it might have been my fault, and hope that it wasn’t.

I will keep trying, I tell the little gooey carcass.  I have to keep trying.