Thursday 23 April 2009

Tender Horns

A few of us were practicing at The Room, which was a bit warm early in the evening, so we opened the door which leads into the back garden. Later on, the evening cooled, Anthony left, and the door was closed again and locked.

In a pause towards the end, just before we packed up, as I was coming out of an embrace, I saw that there was something on the floor over there, something very small and dark, a strange little shape with horns.

A snail had walked in to join us.

“Look!”, I said. “There's a snail.”

Puzzlement from my partner and others.
What can she mean?
Is this some sort of coded feedback?

A little garden snail, helix aspersa I suppose. It was walking smoothly across the floor as snails walk, in a straight line, towards the music. I don't know why it wanted to come in; the floor is smooth, but brightly-lit and dry, and hardly seemed like a good place for a snail. A very beautiful little creature, so out-of-context, waving its horns and leaving a shiny trail.
“Love's feeling is more soft, and sensible,
than are the tender horns of cockled snails ...”
Love's Labour's Lost

Holding its shell - its, and his, and hers, since all snails are both male and female - I gently peeled the creature from the floor, and it withdrew inside.

I couldn't get the back door open again - it had one of those high-security locks. By the time I reached the front door, the snail had reappeared and allowed me to see its curious textures and elegant apparatus for walking. I only touched the shell, as I thought our skins might be bad for each other. I put it behind a wheelie bin, where it was dark and damp.


Captain Jep said...

And there I was thinking you were going to talk about the Practica! Im impressed!

Ive just been reading about geometric shapes. The spirals on a snails shell grow by a fixed ratio and would grow for ever if the snail were large enough.

"To hold infinity in the palm of your hand"

Your blog is getting more and more intriguing...

Captain Jep said...

(err yes I know this is a misquote but I still like the sound of it!)

Mari said...

that was a wonderful post. The first one I read today - perfect. :)

Anonymous said...

These are the moments I love about life! Totally out-of-context, tiny surprises.

David Bailey said...

I was waiting to be shown the "snail" step personally :)

Maybe we should create one for next time.

msHedgehog said...

@Captain Jep - I saw an ammonite fossil 1m across in the British Museum today. I can't think what that quote is - reminds me of something in Terry Pratchett, he was probably thinking of the same thing. "we have held the stars ..."

@Mari, Johanna - Thank you, and, it was lovely.

@DB - Some good candidates here, from 00:50.

Captain Jep said...

It's by William Blake :

To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palms of your hand
and eternity in an hour.

1m across - wow! to think of the beauty of the living creature...

ps lovely vid - yep needs to go on my Poema playlist too...