Snail invasion. After the rain the other day we noticed a snail or two on the front porch. Not that big a deal, actually. Well, not that we particularly want to host a snail or two on the front porch. After all they do eat Chris' most precious of plants. And they are a nuisance when you accidentally step on them. Very messy, although the sound is kind of like that first munch into a crispy piece of fried speckled trout. They must not taste very nice, though. One day when Cailyn and I were tossing bread scraps to the seagulls, Chris was tossing snails into the street. That's our answer rather than just stepping on them. It assuages our consciences. We can think that we didn't actually kill them, we just relocated them. Besides, if they happen to get run over by a passing car, it couldn't possibly be our fault. But one of the snails Chris tossed was somehow confused with a piece of flying bread by one of the winged scavengers. He nabbed it in mid-air and we heard that telltale smack as he bit into it. And instantly he spit it out and shook his little seagull head as if to say, "Nasty." So, even the seagulls think they are nasty.
We picked up the two interlopers off the porch and casually tossed them into the street. And then we saw them. There - under the car, and around the sides of the car, and up next to the garage, and in fact crawling up the garage door, and down the sidewalk … snails were everywhere. All sizes. Big ones – the kind with hard shells that sort of bounce when they hit the street. Smaller ones – with shells that are thin as paper and you have to be careful when you pick them up so as not to squish them in your hand. Thankfully we didn't see any slugs – those naked snail wannabes. No way I would pick one of them up with my bare hands. But snails were literally everywhere. It was like a plague of biblical proportions. Cailyn saw them and wasn't sure how to react. Snails aren't exactly her most favorite creature. She doesn't mind picking up shells, but when she knows for sure that there is a slimy, squirming creature inside that mind emerge at any second … not so much. Oh, she wanted them tossed into the street, though. They were infringing upon her bicycle trail and her gardening path. On the positive side, she did make sure she had shoes on. Seems she had earlier in her young life experienced the unspeakable horror of realizing that her bare foot had inadvertently encountered a random, wandering snail. Hearing the pop. Feeling the soft, gooey warmth of the snail innards rushing to fill in every crack and crevice between your toes and into that little rise at the center of your foot. Not that I have ever done any specific research – in the name of science, mind you – to gather reconnaissance on such intimate details. I am simply drawing upon the powers of imagination to obtain a mental image of what it must have felt like for poor Cailyn. As for me and my house, we will always wear shoes when dispatching snails.
Of course I know that there is such a product as snail bait. In fact I finally found some tucked away in the garage. But not before the mass tossing did occur. Snails flying through the air, landing in the street, some to be crushed by cars, others to roll and roll until they finally dare to dizzily peek out from within and begin the long, slow journey back to whatever acreage is nearby and not covered with concrete. Cailyn managed to chunk a few of the ones who promised not to emerge while in her possession. And at one point she moved as if tossing one, though nothing appeared to be in her hands. When questioned by Chris she explained, "I tossed my brother out there in the street." Wait. Brother? Perhaps it was simply the passion of the moment. Perhaps she was simply practicing for potential encounters with an as-yet unnamed future sibling. Perhaps it was a random flare-up of the infamous Vaughan imagination. Perhaps … hmm.
1 Peter 1:14-16 says, "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'"
Father, that being holy thing can get really tough. Help. Amen.