The Snail Trail, part 1

For a long time I ignored the snails at my local tide pool. Snails. Meh.

Then one day I happened past a snail that had just completed what might have been eternity symbol. After that I was discovering a fabulous new design every few paces.

Since that revelatory day, I’ve made a point of seeking out the artworks that snails have etched in the sand. Like Buddhist sand mandalas, these will be gone with the next high tide. Recently I found this lacy meanderer:

and this delicate brushwork on rock:

Sometimes I spot an artist at work. More often I find them gathered, perhaps at a cafe:

Of all the snail trails I’ve found to date, this one has most captivated me:

Most of this extensive design came from a single snail during one low tide. I’m pretty sure the artist is the dark blob in the lower right. It lacks a snail silhouette because it has seaplants on its shell.

(This is a common tidepool occurrence. Hold still for long and somebody will grow on you:

But I digress.)

I have spent weeks with the extensive snail trail. I have contemplated it, colored it, admired it. Over the next several posts I’ll share some of what I’ve learned by traveling this snail trail.

First, I cropped the trail a bit. (Not sure this made it any less complicated. Perhaps as I advance with my trail work, I will return to the full trail.) Next, I became familiar with the biggest twists and turns:

After that… well, more soon… er… Lots more soon.

As it turns out, fascination, preoccupation, obsession are all parts of the same coin.