Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A snail for Christmas

Special friends Shirley and Joan sent me a very small book at Christmas: “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating”.
It’s Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s reflections on a snail that came to share a year of her life as she lay completely bed-ridden.
Poetic insights into the meaning of life for this tiny creature beside her bed, and voluminous scientific and literary research on the family of gastropods have been distilled into a tiny book with a huge heart.
I read it slowly and pondered my own life. I marvelled at the incredible life of the common woodland snail. I absorbed something of the author's passion for the incidental, the almost invisible.
As I came to understand that if humans totally annihilate their species on this planet, snails may well outlive them, I felt my self-importance diminishing and shrinking.
Better reviewers than I have written about this wonderful little book.  Suffice it to say that I—increasingly discovering the limitations of ageing and medication—found it totally uplifting and inspiring. It’s given me a new perspective on my own existence.

What more could a Christmas gift bring?

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