We have veered off into a new chapter of family life. Last night our Chicago alliance of five rolled into Nashville and realigned their biographies after 15 fine years of creation and growth.
During that time along with the sacredness of life given to three grandchildren, we learned a lot about urban living and the study proved richly diverse. With that, the exploration of the great outdoors was limited to public parks and get-aways.
So while many tears were shed as the Chicago peeps divided themselves from all manner of city loves, their anticipation of a backyard experience in a temperate climate proved a selling point for relocation like nothing else.
When we arrived from two towns over to greet them at their rental house, in noisy delight, the gang had returned a wayward turtle back into a nearby thicket. Before rescuing God’s little creature from the driveway, they investigated all the colors and all the parts of which the poet Ted Kooser noted: “Turtle has just one plan at a time, and every cell buys into it.”
The threesome continued to shriek, hop and run as the adults indulged in details of the move. Pepper often leads in razzle-dazzle commentary. Running back and forth on top of a stone wall, she called me over. “Gal, wouldn’t you love to pet this slug?”
Stroking its half-inch back, she gazed down on the tiny shimmering creature’s odd glory. Her mother shuttered with reminders of stepping onto various slugs back in the day when she was prone to roam free-footed (see Enchantment Number 11).
Later that evening with librarian sensibilities alerted, I resourced the look-it-up club to find that slugs belong to the gastropod family – gastro (stomach) and pod (foot). Relentless eaters they slide along on a muscular foot eating plants as they stroll. The scene of the crime remains in slime.
As Pepper and I curled over the night rider, alias slug, she asked about the location of their eyes of which she is particularly attuned having worn adorable blue-framed glasses since she was two. She refers to them as “her blues.” Our specimen was too minuscule for much detective work, slugs have two upper tentacles that protrude from their heads, and their eyes are carried on the tips.
We talked for a dot like I did in youth with my father about critters in nature. In this case, discussion unfolded about the turtle and slug. Most probably by now, we speculated, they were making their way along the open road, occasionally gathering with mates and enjoying a meal here and there.
With more research I also uncovered another charming way to think about the slug. This will provide an uplifting metaphor for our newly located family members – “Slugs are the universal symbols of stability and steadfastness who flow along the Journey of Life, leaving behind their beautifully iridescent and ethereal trail of knowledge.” – Pyreaus.com
One of my favorite reminders of a life well lived is Yogi Berra’s enthusiastic cry: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” How else will you be reminded of the steadfast flow or for that matter the challenge to leave a beautifully iridescent trail of knowledge?
During unexpected passages of time when uncertainties are highlighted, I think about the two moves my family made when I was in elementary school just like the one my three grandchildren are experiencing now.
As a child, the first thing I recall doing when we arrived at our new home was to find my own “blues” and explore the surrounding out-of-doors. Could this be an ancient instinct we share with our ancestors?
Appearances have it that there are two ways folks choose to make their way in a new world; to stake territory and put up fences OR like turtle and snail, see what the verdant landscape has to offer.