'Why live in a shell?' Asked the curious ten year old of the old snail.
'There's a whole life outside. And people! I mean... other animals to spend time with. To be with. To get to know.' He looked intently at the snail, his eyes begging for a logical answer. The innocence of this ten year old pierced through the old little snail. He pointed his head out in a circular motion: 'See all that? That's a world where anything can happen. Sure, it may mean adventures, and stories, and new friends to get to know. But it also means darkness that you haven't seen yet, kiddo. Animals that don't wish to get to know little old me. Animals... and people (!) that see me as a nuisance and would rather shove me aside at best, and ... massacre me at worst.'
'I mean, yeah! I know it's not always easy. But what good is it to get old if you never get out of your shell.'
The old snail took a long breath, and long at the child intently.
'You know, when I was your age - In snail years, that is - I planned to conquer the world. To get out there and face every fear imaginable. And for a while, I did just that: I went as far as that corner over there, by the big rock. You have to squint to see it. I even climbed on a coconut once, and played in the water. It was... remarkable. Truly was. But I missed home. I looked for it everywhere: under sea shells, in the trees, in the sand. I even thought it was with the army of ants that always lurk by the tilted palm tree. But then it hit me - my home was on my back. It was there all along, and I never visited once. I spent years - snail years - running away from the home on my back. I thought it would always be there. And then it hit me: I AM the home on my back. To feel at home, I would actually have to be at home with myself. IN myself. I am my home. And the outside world may be exciting, and enriching, and full of possibilities, but what it lacks... is an entry to me.
So I go out every so often, meet new friends like you. I even go as far as the piece of shipwreck in the sand. I go and I explore. But I always remember to go back home. Back home to ME. Such is the life of a snail. We might be small. Or useless to the changing face of the world. But we have something that many long for: home within ourselves. You are still young and have many more adventures to tackle, but I hope that you also - will one day find a home within yourself. It may not be in your back, but rather - in your heart. Such is the way of the humans.'
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman