Always Home

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.

Little snail

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.

Little snail with Carter

*Most of the information on snails I found here.

About Shoes

I am an elementary school teacher, a former microbiologist, a mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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19 Responses to Always Home

  1. Mary Ann says:

    That is an awesome analogy! Love this post!

  2. The Waiting says:

    Beautiful thoughts, Shoes. There’s nothing better than seeing the wonder in the world and seeing how everything all ties together. Great picture too! I wish we had more snails where we live.

    • shoes says:

      I love looking at all the ways we are connected to the greater (and smaller) pieces of nature. I pretty much knew nothing about snails before writing this. Did you know they typically live to the age of 15?!? Very cool.

  3. muddledmom says:

    Wow, he’s pretty big! The ones we have are much smaller. Fun!

  4. What a great shot of the snail! And I love the look of wonder on your child’s face, soaking in the experience. Precious…

    • shoes says:

      Ha! I was kicking myself for not having my camera with and had to use the camera on my phone. It turned out better than I thought. Carter was very taken with it and wanted to wait until it had safely crossed the road. We waited until it was safely in an unused parking lot near some trees before leaving it to its wanderings.

  5. mimijk says:

    I don’t think you could have shared a more perfect moment with us..thank you..

  6. A great analogy and great info on the snail…I never knew any of that!!!

  7. Love the analogy with us, the snail as well as of life and our experiences in general. What an adventure you made with Carter and the little adorable snail. The story reminded me of what it feels like to enter a magical land where exciting dreams come true. Thanks….

    • shoes says:

      After watching the snail with Carter, I could not get the idea out of my head about the snail’s home and how they travel with it finding whatever else they need as they go through life. The post rather wrote itself once I filled in the blanks with some newly learned snail knowledge. Glad you liked it!

  8. ShimonZ says:

    I loved this parable on our own lives and on growing up. Very beautiful… and wonderful to think that it came from the appreciation of a creature that just happened to be there as you were going by. Thank you very much for a beautiful post.

    • shoes says:

      Thank you. I very much enjoy our walks to and from the bus stop. There is almost always some little critter or interesting plant to investigate and learn from.

  9. Jodi says:

    Very nicely done. I’m sure I’ll stick this information away somewhere in the deep recess of my brain and pull it out in the future, effectively impressing someone with my knowledge.

    I have lots of what I thought were snails in my yard, except they don’t have shells. You wouldn’t happen to know what those are would you? BTW, they don’t like eggshells, whatever they are. 😉

    • shoes says:

      It was fun to learn such cool facts about snails. I am sure it will make for great conversation at the next PTO meeting I attend! 🙂

      I can not help you with your shell-less snails unless you are describing some type of small and funky slug. And what are you doing trying to feed them eggshells?!? Hahaha.

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