When I was a leader for my church’s Awana club, I had the privilege of teaching during their evening closing time. One year the director chose to use a compilation of stories that compared the attributes of various creatures with the role they played in God’s kingdom. When my turn came to share, I drew the snail.
Ahem. Cue the laughter please.
I was surprised by all the tasks a snail can do for our environment. Without them our forests would be knee deep in needles and fallen debris. They are nature’s garbage trucks, crawling their way over refuse and removing it as they go.
That’s great—but. . .
The night my bare feet found a snail on our patio my respect for the humble creeper vanished. Ick! Trust me there’s nothing edible for him on our layer of concrete. He had crawled out of his element. I still remember the goo.
Then came the flowers
Later my husband and I worked together to grow a beautiful garden of dahlias. We had every sort—dinner plate size, dainty border flowers, and medium beauties great for bouquets. Apparently snails liked them, too. The tender little plants that popped up in the spring disappeared, their leaves munched down to the soil line by a well-meaning, but unwanted snail. Snail bait followed. But often that wasn’t enough to discourage the voracious hordes of crawlers seeking food.
Our gorgeous light and dark green Hosta leaves lost their luster if a snail found them. Holey Hosta did not hold the appeal of a luscious green patch of healthy leaves. To save the bed of plants, a friend advised a border of lime. It helped, but not without re-application.
A Return to their origins
This spring my husband appointed himself the snail terminator. After we completed our spring flower plantings, he’d water them early evening and then creep out after dark with flashlight in hand to search for the unwary snails. He’d saved restaurant napkins, those left on the table after a meal and would be discarded anyway, wrapping any creepers he found out of the flower beds. Caught in a paper covering these offensive creatures were then tossed into the garbage can. We wished them well.
After all we were only returning them to the landfill where they’d find their true calling.
And we’d have our flowers.
Genesis 1:24″And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.” Like writers, even snails have their place.