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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why did the slug cross the road?

Most of my walks these days are spent eyes down - there's no use looking up or around, it's all grey, the fog smothers the top halves of trees and the near distance of woods. The pavement is constantly wet and so slugs are my companions, other than the dog of course, who isn't interested in this particular variety of slime, much to my surprise and fortunately so, or we'd be stopping every few feet for a sniff and a roll. I imagine the slugs traipse out in the rain for any number of reasons: to escape drowning in the woods from the record-breaking rainfall this month; to race each other - the Sluggie 500 (mm) - on a hard surface; to perform slug-wheelies; to remind me with their grossness that life could be worse. I note the road is least slug-olated where it borders lawns (even slugs dislike the mono-culture of suburbia), most where trees and weeds and leaves grow close. I note too that there are no slugs in the middle of the road; they make it about a foot or so from the verge, then perish in clumps of goo, too slow to escape even the few cars that travel our country lanes. Or do they just stop and await the smoosh?

I don't think slugs have a lot of ambition. They don't want to get to the other side of anything. They're all water in a bit of skin, and when the whole world looks that way too, the slug goes out in a praise of gory.

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