I was fascinated by the snail that had succeeded to climb up and suction itself to the outside of the second-floor window. The fact that such a thing intrigued me is either a commentary on my own mindless and meaningless musings, or a magnetic attraction to metaphors. Either way, take your pick, but not before you finish my short story.
One of the inevitable results of Parkinson's disease is slowing down, whether one wants to or not. I have tried hard to fight it. I just can't get used to it. For example, in my mind I should be able to get ready in the morning; shower, shave, brush my teeth, comb my hair, button my shirt, buckle my belt, and tie my tie, as quickly as I did in years past. But I can't! I take longer. And the faster I try and go the more frustrating a process it becomes. Finally, typically well along the way, I recognize a significant number of limitations. Everything just takes me longer. But it still feels like I am moving at a snail's pace.
Not just people with Parkinson's, but all of us can learn things from the lowly, slow-moving snail; the Terrestrial Pulmonate Gastropod Mollusk to be exact. First, a snail labors under a burden, the shell it must carry. But more than a burden, the snail's shell is actually part of it, growing, alive and yet somehow distinctly different. The natural tendency for a snail is to recoil into its shell when poked or prodded. But a snail cannot make progress or care for itself when hiding.
But a second thing can be learned by observing the shell of the snail. While beautiful with its ringed curls, few recognize that this commonplace site is a logarithmic spiral. Something as vast and significant as our own cosmos, the Milky Way, is a form of logarithmic spiral. However, the hurricane, with its power and potential destructive force, also constitutes the same natural shape. It is as if the character of the snail is expressed through it shell.
Thirdly, snails are not all that slow! Imagine if you had to carry your house at the same time as trying to slide one saliva-coated foot along the ground or wall. Moving at the pace of four to six meters an hour would feel like supersonic speed. After all, given the snails can live for 10 to 15 years in some circumstances, what's the hurry? It's all a matter of perspective.
Which brings me to my final question: why did the snail climb so high only to die in the process? You will be surprised to know that it was to warn other snails. The need for a snail to climb occurs when it is affected by a dangerous chemical or infection in the area. As a snail's tissues go into necrosis, it gives off a distinctive (to other snails, at least) scent, which warns others of danger in the area. A snail that is about to die will climb as high as it can, so that the scent spreads farther.