Learn From the Snail

By Amarachi Okpunobi

It’s raining season and it’s time to hunt snails. I loved snails while growing up and I still love snails now. In a much younger age, while in primary school, during raining season I sit with my friends to discuss our adventures of hunting snails. It was also of economy benefit to us then, we would hunt them at night, especially nights of rain and make little sales in the market through my mother.

She would take them to the market, make the sales and finally hand over the money to us. How we utilise the money matters less to her, it was our hardwork so she believed we should reap the fruit of our labour. I remember still, she would advise, “Don’t buy sweet or chewing gum with your money and don’t tell me you have no pen or your pen is stolen tomorrow”.

That way we made little money and helped ourselves with some stationaries for school.
We don’t only go for snail hunting for sale, we ate so much of it too. My mother would then encourage that we should eat a lot because she believes it improves the brain activity. Apart from my mother’s beliefs about snail, it has its nutritional benefits.

They possess anti-cancer properties and boost the immune system due to their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects. An average snail is comprised of 80% water, 15% protein and 2.4% fat. They contain essential fatty acids, calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium and are a rich source of vitamins E, A, K and B12.

The snail in the animal kingdom is more or less significant but very valuable. It helps in decomposition of living matter which improves soil fertility.

During my days of hunting snails, I admired a lot of things about this unique creature. It’s mobility to some is sluggish and so does not make much impact to them. The good thing about this snail is this, in as much as it moves very slowly, it doesn’t get tired of moving to its determined location.

That’s what I call perseverance. You can term it whatever you want but the snail has a great sense of perseverance. It hates to give up on the way if it doesn’t reach to its destination. If peradventure, the sun rises on it while finding a shade, the snail retracts into its shell and patiently wait for the sun set to continue its journey. Sometimes you may see them under the leaves of small plants, underneath packed blocks or even under dry leaves. But yet it doesn’t give up until it reaches its destination. If you are looking for a perfect example of perseverance, look at this small creature and you will learn alot from it.

The snail is so much productive. Lays about 30-100 eggs. That’s how super it is. Be productive, don’t just leave to grow without produce. Produce in yourself and be productive to others.

Do you know how the snail crawls? This little creature crawls slowly leaving its saliva on the sand. It doesn’t move unnoticed. It builds its legacy gradually but steadily. It does not see the birds flying or the lions running and halt from its crawling.
The snail continues because it understands that’s the only way to leave it’s marks on the sand of time. Even when the saliva dries up, it remains on the sand, it is legacy. Live like the snail, build your legacy anywhere you go, gradually but steadily. Don’t always fail to leave your mark on the sands of time. Let it speak for you, even when you are no more.

I also admire the snail on its Focus. The snail has a great sense of focus. Naturally, their visual capacity is poorly developed and devoid of hearing aids yet they know their focus. They know where they are going. Try obstructing the snail,s mobility, it immediately get into its shell, waits for some time and continue crawling to its focus.

The snail does not stop at the first hit, it focuses its attention on where it’s going. It does not not dwell on hurts too. You hit a snail, it shields itself with the shell and continues moving. This simple attitude helps the snail move faster. It does not have to respond to everything that comes it’s way. Likewise you, if you must feed your focus, you don’t have to respond to all events around you especially those ones that hurt you or causes you limitations.

Shake them off like the snail and move on. Don’t dwell on excuses for not reaching your target site. Amidst the snails visual incapacity, it doesn’t have any excuse for not reaching its destination. It feels it when it has gotten there. You may not need the eyes to see clearly that you have reached your target site, but surely you need the heart to feel it. The heart knows it when it has reached its focus because the heart built this focus.

Remember the snail has a very poor sight, yet it does not crawl on thorns. Isn’t this amazing? The snail changes its direction after hitting a thorn once. It doesn’t crawl on it. It does not allow itself to hit a thorn twice. What a wisdom, the snail has got? Thorns are for pain, wounds and scars. They sometimes leave indelible mark on the skin. Once bitten, twice shy. You, like the snail should not also crawl on the thorns.

There are so many ways to get to your destination (dreams). The thorns will get you injured, you may not know how long the wound would take to heal. Don’t move on thorns deliberately, they aren’t good for you.

In my snail hunting days, I discovered that the snail also have a Rejuvenation period. When the snail gets to its destination, it settles and often times reproduce. When it’s metabolic rate decreases and both respiratory and heart rates becomes slower than usual. The snail on its own hybernates.

It does this to keep its moisture and protect itself from predators. It retracts into its shell and secrete a layer of mucus called epiphragm, which closes the opening of the snail. I term this process the maintenance period because the snail allows itself to gain more life and take care of its heart to continue working. Your heart is your engine room, if anything happens to it, you immediately move to the left hand side of the health-illness continuum. Snails understand this and once in a while go for maintenance. An engine that is devoid of maintenance will surely break down someday.

The crowd will cheer you up but don’t be carried away, remember to always go for maintenance. Check your information level, check for your successes and your failures. Detach from friends who only allows for parasitic relationships, hybernate from them to keep your metabolic rate high and your heart at it’s normal rate. Protect yourself from predators, killers of dreams.

Learn from the snail and make sure you reach your destination, keep persevering, be productive, focus on your target site, build lasting legacy, leave the thorns and don’t forget to always go for maintenance.
Have a fruitful week ahead!