The first snail sat still. He felt slow and comical.
‘Why do you struggle, friend?’ inquired the second.
‘We are earth-bound,’ he replied. ‘Vulnerable.
I want to transcend. I want to be resilient.’
‘You are not a slug,’ observed the second.
‘You have a shell.
Use it to protect yourself.’
‘I do,’ insisted the first. ‘I know how to hide.
I want to know how to live.
If only I were fast.
It is exhausting me, trying to be fast.’
The second snail pondered a moment.
‘It takes a lot of energy to make a dream reality,’ he decided.
You will use less if you try to make reality your dream.
You have the ability to glide.
Embrace your nature. Do not fight it.’
The first snail pondered too.
‘Very well,’ he conceded.
‘But our whole bodies are a muscle and I cannot quell the pain.
Each piece of flint impedes my progress.
My tears are becoming the track I leave behind, glistening in the sun for all to see.’
The second snail smiled kindly.
‘Our trails are just the memories of our journey.
The tears we cry along the way are how we know we feel.
The trick is not to stop them but to turn your face to the sun so that it can dry.’
But still the first snail’s eyebrows knitted.
‘I can only conclude that the road you travel is smoother than mine.
Or that my body has more nerves than yours.’
The big snail stretched out a tentacle and wrapped it round his friend.
‘Quite the opposite,’ he confided.
‘The foot of the snail is so sensitive that it can move over the sharp edge of a razor blade without cutting itself.
It is through feeling that we learn.
And the more we understand the more we are safe to leave the shell.
The first snail listened to this and was quiet for a long time.
Finally, he seemed heartened- for the time being, at least.
He let himself relax and the silky warmth of his friend’s tentacle sent him to sleep.