Monday, May 12, 2014

Invoking My Snail Self

Sunday, for the first time in too long, we took a leisurely hike together as a family. I do love the weekly hikes the kids and I take, but there is something so nice about my husband joining. We are whole, just us, and together we name wildflowers: Fire Pink, Shooting Star, Chickweed, and move snails from trail to safety.

This was my Mother's Day wish- to walk, just walk, however slow we needed to do so, together. There was so much to see, so many flowers to name and snails to move, that our time passed before even a quarter of the trail had been explored. Like so many moments I hate to leave, the calls of what needs to be finished or started were ever present, and so the voice telling me to hurry us along began. I suppose that voice does serve a purpose, but I hate her all the same. She can so quickly lose sight of the moment, and project snark and worry.

So hurry we did, back up the way we came instead of finishing the trail. No longer was there time to name each flower, snails could not be sought or saved, and chatter turned to whine.

I marched ahead and cursed Mother's Day for making me feel like our day had to be perfect, for packing in too much as always, for needing to breathe and not being able to find a solid breath.

And I waited for my three to catch up to me, I noticed the same snail we'd seen hours before had moved less than an inch. Oh to be able to move that slowly! Though I wonder- would I wish for it if I was able? Does she see the top of the tree or the rocks below and worry that she'll never make it in time? Or is she content to go at her pace- much like the three I love who always seem to be.

We made it home with plenty of time to spare. I held my breath through vacuuming and dusting, bathroom wipe downs and dinner prep. I lit candles, simmered oils, blasted Tori Amos, tried some yoga, avoided opening a beer too soon, and finally, after some time and a great deal of effort, returned to center.

This week I'm going to invite my snail self to be more present. I'm going to make sure my calendar includes things like dinner prep, morning walks, it taking at least 20 minutes to get anywhere. I'm going to remind myself these people I love are worth too much to rush, as is my life, and make sure we do a redo hike soon! One where we have all day to move as slowly as we can together.



  1. You portray such a vivid narrative of family life and the states of mind/emotions it evokes. I love your invocation of your "snail self." I wonder if "snail self" can displace "monkey mind"? MKP

  2. That's a redo I would love to have a chance for from Casey's childhood. I didn't do it every time, but too often did I rush him through things, yet, somehow, is good at the "snail self". Thanks for such a lovely reminder that I need to keep practicing staying in the moment.