Snails. Not only are they always home but they are always in the process of creating their home. For the snail their shell is home but it also means safety from predators like birds and frogs as well as from the rays of the hot sun that can dry it out. When a snail is born it has a small fragile shell. Needing calcium to grow a stronger shell, the first thing a snail eats is the very eggshell it hatched from. As a snail grows its shell grows with it in a ring like pattern reminiscent of a tree’s growth rings. Their birth shell, if you will, ends up being the very middle of their shell when they are fully grown. The body part of the snail that is responsible for shell growth is called the mantle.
I find that in some respects we are not all that different from snails. While they rely upon the nutrients from their birth eggshell to make their own protection, we rely upon our parents, our family, to give us the tools we need to make our own protective shell. Snails grow their shell throughout their lives just as we build upon our foundation and over time make a home for ourselves. We accumulate wisdom from our life experiences, we gain knowledge and love from those around us, we combine all of this to make our home.
And, if you will humor me with this analogy just a little longer, I am struck by the name of that crucial organ that is able to build the snail’s shell; the mantle. For the snail it is their mantle that creates their home, for us we display bits and pieces of our home upon our mantel.
Why all this talk about shells and snails you ask? Well, after getting Cody safely on the school bus this morning Carter and I came upon this little guy.
He is a beauty, isn’t he? It got me thinking about how a snail actually makes its shell and how little I knew about it. It got me thinking about life and family and the definition of a home. It inspired me to learn about snails, to teach what I learned to Carter, and to write about it here.
*Most of the information on snails I found here.