My life is full of distractions- I'm wondering if you feel the same. My phone is never far from me and I’m semi-dangerously addicted to looking at everything from friends’ updates to kitty cat memes to fascinating lengthy articles in The Atlantic, all served up so easily and endlessly refreshed with new content every second.
Sometimes my body and mind, exhausted and overwhelmed, cry for a break.
So I go to the woods for a couple of nights. I unplug, sleep under the stars, and sit and watch the trees and sky.
As I sink back into my body, shoes off, toes digging into the sand at the creek’s edge, ears tuned in to the burbling of the water and the wind in the pines, time shifts and expands.
My eyes relax and I start to notice tiny details around me that I initially missed.
I indulged in one of my escapes to the woods this past weekend. On the first morning, after a starry night of firefly watching and owl listening, I took an early morning walk while the air was still cool and the sun was just beginning to warm the treetops. I sat down on a bluff overlooking the creek and listened to the water. As I focused on the fallen oak and holly leaves around me, I noticed a snailcrawling along in its slow but merry snail way.
How wonderful to have the time to watch a snail, I thought.
There was absolutely nothing else I needed to be doing in that moment. I watched the snailexploring the leaves around it, testing each new millimeter with its adorable snail antennae (or are they eye stalks? I am a science-y person but don’t want to stop this writing to look up mollusk anatomy. It is not important for now.)
I looked to my left and a bright green slightly-chewed fruit, smaller than a marble, caught my eye. What was this? I had no idea. Some type of tiny gooseberry? An unripe baby muscadine? I didn’t know but it looked like it might be a delicious treat for a snail. So I picked it up and dropped it just in front of the snail and waited patiently to see what would happen.
Hooray, the snail noticed it! And then began eating it! In my mind it wasn’t only eating, it was savoring, relishing.
How observing something so simple could feel so deeply exquisite continues to mystify me.
I wonder if you’ll feel the same way. I captured part of the moment on video. Turn up your sound and you can actually hear the snail chewing - or more scientifically scraping its radula - its sandpapery “teeth” - along the fruit. You’ll hear the distant birds and the creek too. Click the image below to watch.
When is the last time you “fed your snail?”
Are you giving yourself permission for tiny moments of wonder in nature? Do you long for something intangible that you might receive from an outdoor adventure that requires no special equipment or skills, only the willingness to sit and pay attention?
If you crave some “snail feeding” time - time to slow down to the pace of a languidly feasting invertebrate, I hope you will give it to yourself.
If you’d like a guide to point out the tiny magnificences and exclaim along with you, or someone to whisk you away to a magical overnight under the stars, I’m at your service. I have everything you need. All you have to do is make the time and show up. Spring is perfect for this.
Want to play? Contact me if you’d like to be part of some beta testing I’ll be doing in the upcoming weeks of woodland forest escapes, both day trips and overnights.
Nature-y coachy goodness. Lots of stillness. Deep immersion. Maybe it's time to feed your snail.