On the step outside the garden door,  an ant follows silver tracks left by a snail on paving stones. The frantic pace of the ant exaggerates the puzzle of random trails, crossing back and forth, up and down.

The snail may have had a clear idea of where he was going when he started, but the tell-tale signs of his meanderings show clearly in morning sunlight. After moving along in a reasonably straight course, he made a sharp turn to the right, oozing along for a short distance. Heading off at a tangent once again, he returned to the original westerly route for an equally short journey. Veering sharply to the left, and possibly finding the view there unappealing, he was almost back on track, but round in dizzy circles he wandered, muddling along in a tangle until finally, he reached the edge of the step. With all kinds of vegetation almost within reach, it is not clear which way he went. A snail is a snail after all.


Snail, you are slow, your wanderings are a jumble.

Compared to what, said the snail.

Compared to my speed and efficiency, said the ant.

I am not in a hurry, said the snail, besides, I rather enjoy going around in circles, to see again what I might have missed.

It wouldn’t suit me, said the ant. I’m in the business of time and motion, and time waits for no ant.

Then why do you follow my trail. Said the snail.

I investigate everything, said the ant. No stone unturned, that’s my motto.

You are indeed industrious, said the snail. Excuse me while I take a nap.


After I had written the above, a few days ago, I had in mind a simple drawing of mine, scribbled a few months ago, that would suit the short description. I looked in my art bags, and boxes, and folders. Searched, and searched, but the scribble would not come to light.

Today, I read a fellow blogger’s account of why he doesn’t add illustrations to his writings. A blog purely for writing. Admirable.

Putting aside my search for the elusive scribble, I have done the same with this post. A lesson learned, with the help of another human being, an ant and a snail.

(But I will find that scribble, and possibly attach it to another post.)


About maskednative

There is a gazebo at the end of the garden. It overlooks the estuary. When the tide is in, sea water pools around seaweed covered rocks. The sound is peaceful, meditative. I drink an early morning coffee, listen to the birds singing morning songs, watch a spider spin his fragile life between timber beams above my head. Even in the harshest of winters, the rise and fall of tides, sun-light on water, movement of sky, cloud, moon and stars, allows an awareness of nature behind the mask of perceived reality. I offer my words and pictures in celebration and gratitude to God, for allowing me a glimpse behind the mask. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Bio: Teri Flynn was born in Wales of Welsh and Irish Parents. Educated in England, she moved to Co.Waterford, Ireland in 1997 where her Poetry has since appeared in “The Turning Tide” – an anthology of new writing from Co.Waterford. “Southward” The Journal of the Munster Literature Centre and “Imagine” The Tallow Writers Group quarterly review. Her poetry appears in “Sticky Orchard”, a group effort with Alan Garvey, Jim O’Donnell and Anthony O’Neill and grant assisted by Waterford County Council’s Arts Grant Scheme. “Listening To The Grass Grow” with Jim O’Donnell and Anthony O’Neill was published by Edward Power at Rectory press and most recently, in ‘Murmurings’, Remembering Anthony O’Neil, with Jim O’Donnell and Alan Garvey. Her poem Queen Of The Sea was included in the Chesapeake Exhibition at RUH, Bath, 2011. Figurehead Carver, Andy Peters. Photographic display of Ship’s Figurehead Carvings by Richard Sibley – A themed display of her oil paintings and poems entitled Cynefin, were on display in Waterford during The Imagine Festival in 2017. Cynefin-pronounced kuh-nev-in is a Welsh word meaning habitat or place. A place where a being feels it ought to live, where nature around you feels right and welcoming.
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8 Responses to Fine-tuning

  1. Tom says:

    To me, just the first two lines of your poem have a surplus of meaning. That willingness to comment, critique, judge, pigeon-hole, when we don’t have a clue as to the existential reality of the other.

    Great post!


  2. yes, those meanderings…i find them enlightening…


  3. j.h. white says:

    Some days an ant
    Some days a snail….
    the trick for me
    is to know which day it is … great post


  4. maskednative says:

    Thank you j.h. I’m very grateful for your comments. When the day flows without too much trying, maybe those are the days when we are following the right trail, whether an ant or a snail.


  5. Wonderful story. And I like pictures, drawings and scribbles:)


    • maskednative says:

      Thank you for your comment, I’m very happy to know that you enjoyed the story. For me, writing is painting with words,finding the best descriptive word(s),is always worth the effort, whether we succeed or not.


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