This is the latest in my Non-Human Architects series, that of a common yet, invasive Chinese but possibly a Japanese Mystery snail. As a common food source in Asian countries, the snail made its way to North America via California. With any living thing transported from another land, a few are bound to be let loose into the wild and the rest is history. The “mystery” part of their name is because females give birth to young, fully developed snails that suddenly and “mysteriously” appear.
I have a hard time demonizing another creature because its numbers grow unchecked or transmit disease. Due to globalization, trade, and human misjudgment of the larger ecological picture, species end up in places they don’t belong at no fault of their own. Such is the fate of my small brown snail.
I began thinking about the research and findings regarding the emotional lives of animals written about lately. Even species deemed simple can display what we would call an emotional response. What if this small brown snail had an inner life of feeling and aesthetics? What if she wanted more than a plain brown utilitarian shell?
The man of many interests and endeavors William Morris wrote, “have nothing in your in your houses which you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful.” Indeed, when people live in beautiful spaces, they are elevated and have more joy in their lives, especially when they are capable of designing and crafting these space through their own skill and artistry.
And so it was for my small brown snail. Inspired by William Morris’ botanical patterns, she adorned her mobile home.