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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not Slow. Just Not Rushed. (May 3, 2011)

Just last week I made the radical claim that snails are cool. (See my Spring Critters piece from 4/26.)

I’m a gardener, so you might think I detest snails.

Not so.

I think they’re groovy. I like that they carry their house on their back. I’m intrigued by how much they meander to get from point A to point B. They nearly go in circles. Did they not take Geometry? Do they not know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line? Maybe their refusal to do things the fastest, most efficient way is one reason I like them. They take the scenic route.

My son showed me a Lego snail his friend gave him recently. Yes, Lego now makes snails. You heard it here. It’s pretty cute.

Last week while searching online for snail photos, I stumbled across some fun pictures of art work by Slinkachu, a London-based graffiti artist. Slinkachu has painted and played with snail shells for his series ‘Inner City Snail – a slow-moving street art project'. The artist used non-toxic paints, and what I presume was a very narrow detail brush. But I must ask this: how do you ask a snail to stay still during his make-over? Do you paint only when he’s asleep? How do you know when he’s asleep? How do you know if he feels okay with your artistic concept? Did he crawl across the contract, leaving a dotted line of assent instead of a signature, giving his slime of approval to the project?

I must admit that my recent interest in snails includes only what I have observed about them, and I have no knowledge of why they leave the dotted trail. Is it an homage to Hansel and Gretel? Please hold while I do some research.

I’m back with snail trivia. Come on. You know you want to know this! Things I learned:

· It turns out that the goo you see behind snails actually helps them to move.
· The goo is a sticky mucous, which allows them to climb walls.
· They travel at the speed of 50 yards per hour (less slow than I would have guessed!).
· Snails reach maturity in one to two years.

One of these days I may do some snail art (not painting their actual shells but painting their likenesses). Of course, I have a long to do list these days, so this project may take a snail’s pace.

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