An imminent rainfall has an unmistakable smell.
This smell also has three main effects: it makes us compulsively state the obvious that it’s about to rain, it makes us exercise when we usually wouldn’t by running for the nearest bus shelter, and it makes us obsessively look up into the sky.
The net effect of these three things is a kind of distraction only equalled by a BMW driver using their smartphone to stream a video of someone getting hit in the nuts. This kind of distraction can also lead to what is possibly the worst feeling in the entire world: stepping on a snail.
My days are ruined when this happens.
For a long time during my high school days, people would often say, “Matthew, why are you always looking at your feet? Chin up, sonny.” No, I’m not depressed. I’m just wary of snails and you would be too if you’ve ever heard the telltale crack that comes after stepping on one.
It happens so suddenly and there’s very little you can do to help them. He or she (they’re actually hermaphroditic) was just meandering across the pavement and the foot of a giant god crushed them. It’s extra sad when you realize that you’ve also destroyed a home that’s taken years to grow.
When they’re young, snails have a soft shell that grows with them. They harden it by consuming calcium found in various plants and vegetables found in the wild.
Snails are often seen as pests in most gardens. It’s true that they have a voracious appetite and most cultivated gardens would do best to see fewer of them slithering around. However, in a natural setting they make up an important part of the food chain.
Some gardeners will go out of their way to avoid having them in their garden by sprinkling around salt or including certain snail-repelling herbs in the soil. Salt kills snails in the worst way possible by dissolving them, so be humane and don’t do that.
Gardeners can trap snails by using a jar filled with a small amount of beer that will attract them in droves. Apparently, you can also use copper plates to dissuade them from entering your garden as their slime doesn’t mix well with the metal.
And if you’re an intrepid snail-loving person you can rescue a snail because not all breaks will kill the little gastropod. Sometimes a crack can be repaired over time as the snail ingests calcium to rebuild its shell. If you take in the snail, be sure to have a variety of vegetables and leaves in the little jar you put them into. As well, keep them moist by spritzing water onto them.
Also keep in mind that snails are nocturnal, so be extra careful during the night and early mornings.
However, if you’ve completely smashed the shell it might be better to end the little dude’s life.
There aren’t a lot of things in life that make me stop to think about our frail existence. Sometimes I wax philosophical about bigger issues in the world, but there’s nothing more heartbreaking in my humdrum life than crushing a little snail that wasn’t bothering anyone.