Snail Gardens

I have spent the last two weeks in a desperate search for dandelion puffs for this science experiment I have to do. The search led me to consider dandelions and how cheery and yellow, quaint and wish-full they are. No one really likes dandelions for the same reason no one really likes the little neighbor kid who always seems to be at your house- because they have no particular use and because they potentially scare away the more elegant and refined guests. Like the little neighbor kid, however, these plants have their own unique charms, like the wish-granting puffs I wanted to use for my science experiment.

Snails fall into the same category as dandelions. You should know that I am a big fan of the species Helix aspersa. I enjoy the feeling of their shimmering, smooth muscles gliding across your hands. I am fascinated by their almost extra-terrestrial eyes that can retract at the first sign of danger. I am drawn to their flawless shells, which always follow the Divine Proportion, which makes me believe in God a little bit more.

I have many stories about the ways snails have been persecuted. My mom used to put out a bowl of beer, in which snail would flock to and drown in the hundreds. My brothers used to burn them or sprinkle their poor, mucus-covered bodies with salt. When I spent a year at a boarding school in England, one of the girls I lived with had two pet Giant African Land Snails, which she would let me photograph, draw, or hold whenever I wanted. Our entire boarding house were very attached to these darlings, but unfortunately our house mistress found them and made my friend take them home.

(This is my friend Snoz with her Giant African Land Snails)

That is why, when I have a property of my own, I am going to have a dandelion and snail garden, in appreciation of the less dainty but still beautiful creatures that we share our planet with.

-E

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