The snail pushes through a greenNot sure I'm going with this--I never am--but I saw something in August I do not (and cannot) understand. Maybe someone out there can help me.
night, for the grass is heavy
with water and meets over
the bright path he makes, where rain
has darkened the earth's dark. He
moves in a wood of desire,
pale antlers barely stirring
as he hunts. I cannot tell
what power is at work, drenched there
with purpose, knowing nothing.
What is a snail's fury? All
I think is that if later
I parted the blades above
the tunnel and saw the thin
trail of broken white across
litter, I would never have
imagined the slow passion
to that deliberate progress.
I have a large jar holding pond water that's been in B362 for years now. It sits on the windowsill where my lambs can witness generations of snails and duckweed and daphnia and planaria when they're less than inspired by memorizing biomes or parts of the cell ingloriously reduced to human activities. ("The mitochondria are the factories of the cell." *clumk*)
Here's something your grandma may have neglected to tell you. As you age, the "higher" functions, the jobs run by the cortical parts of the brain, start to sputter a bit. Edges start to blur.
It would be scarier if it happened quickly, but it's mercifully gradual.
It's still bloody scary.
Meanwhile, the amygdala, the ancient part of our brain that connects fear and subconscious memory, keeps on gliding through life like a shark's fin gliding through a calm bay at sunset--steady, stealthy, and, in its own way, beautiful.
I've taken a few bumps on the head, sustained at least 5 concussions, so you may want to judge this by someone whose led a more sane life. Or maybe you might want to chat with the snails. Or maybe you want to read the works by the greats on their fading years--they practically get giddy on death.
I'm just a teacher in high school who spends too much time staring at pond water in jars, and I share what I see.
And this is what I saw.
On a late August afternoon, I visited my classroom, something I do regularly even in August.
About a dozen snails lay evenly spaced around the jar of pond water, as though place there by the Almighty Himself. All were a foot away from the jar. All were dead.
Now I can hypothesize until the next tide ebbs, but my suspicion is that the conditions in the jar got intolerable for the snails. They left the "pond" en masse, and died nearly simultaneously.
Not sure why a few chose to stay in the jar (and are alive as I write), nor why this particular Jim Jones moment never happened before, nor since. But it happened.
And I wondered (as I will) what could drive a sentient being from its home. And I dwelled on fear and failing light and all the other nonsense getting older entails (while we pretend otherwise), and I wondered if snails even had amygdalas.
I do. My amygdala grows stronger every day as the cortical tissues withers away. The reptilian brain underneath rises up now, and fear frames the incipient fog.