We took the granddaughter to Antioch Park today. The temperature was in the mid-80s, the sky was blue, and everything pointed to a perfect opportunity to take some sandwiches to the park for a picnic. After eating, we took a walk around the park’s lake and spotted a large collection of water snails. When we first spotted them, we thought they were acorns that had made their way into the water. Closer examination revealed that there were hundreds of live snails in the water. Viewing this as a possible totem, I decided to investigate snails upon returning home.
Some of the interesting traits I discovered were that snails have two pair of antenna on their heads with one pair containing their eyes. I am not sure the purpose of this extra eye mobility but I could see that it might allow them to peek out from their shell without exposing their entire body. I also learned that they are hermaphrodites which means they are both male and female, but they still must mate with another snail before they can lay eggs. When they mate, they spend hours courting each other and covering each other in froth. They are capable of laying around 85 eggs six times a year.
I think the snail speaks to me in a couple of ways. First, they are known for being slow and as such makes a useful symbol to remind us to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. We had a wonderful time at the park and it is definitely moments like that which are to be savored.
Second, I think the snail reminds us of the importance of fertility. We did not see but one snail, but hundreds. We also saw a mother goose with three goslings during our walk. Fertility is not just important in the physical plane, but this symbology reminds us that we must also strive to maintain a fertile mind and spirit.
Lastly, I think the snail’s exoskeleton speaks to the idea of protection, and that the snails were found in water speaks to how I control or protect my emotions. Maybe it is a reminder to stay aware of how I show my emotions. I know that I have a tendency to speak through my emotions first without thinking about the consequences of who and how it might hurt another.
As always, the world around us can open insights into our lives and provide us opportunities for improving them. May I learn well the lessons from the snails of Antioch.