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.)


8 thoughts on “Fine-tuning

  1. 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. 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.


    1. 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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