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.)


The Hawthorn Hedge

pixie black and white

Flower beds,

climbing beans,

cabbages, crisp and clean,

the narrow ditch

where nettles sting.

Snail tracks glisten

like silver threads on

the pile of stones at the garden end.

On hands and knees I hold my breath,

gaze through the gap

in the hawthorn hedge,

to the meadow,

where white horses tread.

And everywhere I look,

is new.

(You never forget that view.)

When I was very young, nature engaged in my make-believe games in complete and total co-operation. In my Grandmother’s garden,  every day brought a new discovery, stored in my memory box of sights, sounds, tastes, touch and smell, emotions almost beyond a language of descriptive adjectives. Someone said that birds, and animals perceive the world in a different way to humans, this is possibly true, up to a point. But what if, as adults, the ability to listen with our senses diminished along with our outgrown childish toys. The world is more than it seems, it speaks the language of the heart that we are all connected to. I trust my heart to engage with nature in total and complete gratitude.