“Slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails, that is what little boys are made of. Sugar and spice and everything nice, that is what little girls are made of”.
Where to us, snails make us think of protecting our vegetable patch or make this old rhyme pop up in our minds, the French cuisine “thinks”: serve them edible snails with an abundance of garlic and parsil! Not everybody likes the thought or the chewy texture though!
We can’t give much comment on the French, as most of us women have already used them in creams on wrinkles or dry skin, hidden under the name “Helix aspersa”. Wound tissue is nowadays even regenerated by their secretions. Some Native Americans used them for toothache, although we wouldn’t want them in our mouth just because of their healing trail…
These belly-footed animals with their assymetrically coiled, sunwise or moonwise shells, were already wandering about, in a slow pace, on our planet 500 million years ago. Remember the sunflowers or even think of pinecones and many more earthly things, even our DNA, all carrying the ancient spiral symbol, even galaxies.
What is special about them, we should wonder, instead of only thinking about them as food, or garden burdens (by the way to prevent them from reaching your favourite crop, use a copper band as snail repellent).
We can learn something from their lovemaking, that’s for sure: these hemaprhodites stroke each other tenderly, for up to 8 hours long when courting. And what about them taking their time and enjoying life at a slower pace, always carrying their home with them. That should make you forget all the negative expressions such as “at snail’s pace” or “snail mail”, only mentioning their non- speedy way of living.
The ancient ones knew their value! The Greeks used them as indicators when crops were ready to harvest. They were considered sacred, by the Aztecs, representing the cycle of life, shown on the god Tecciztecatl’s back, representing the moon hiding in the ocean or on the chest of their god Quetzalcoatl giving him insight in the secrets of the cycles of the universe. The Mayans had them as the gods of the wind riding in snail shells. Only Christianity took their sacredness away, making them symbols of sloth. So let’s show some respect when we see these ancient symbols of cosmic force in action on land, or many more with diversity in the se. They have a life span of 7 to 15 years, some of their species even up to 25 years!
They won’t hear you, as they have no ears, food attracts them by smell though, during their nightly activities. If you’re lucky you, might find one in winter, hibernating in the ground.
Do you recognize something of yourself in these lovely creatures, are you a loner, not very social and often timid, whilst keeping your guard up? Do you show your hard shell to the world and have difficulty to trust people, although you’re tender of heart with strong feelings? Or are you the snail person that slowly but surely, always gets to his destination?
Knowing when to retread, retracting completely in her shell now