Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Jen has her scorpions
Cari has her cougars and fisher cats (and other fierce furry forest folk)
Kelly has her bats
Dweej has her mice
And I have....


These things can be 12 inches long, and they're more slimy than snails! All my adult life I have lived in their favorite habitat, the coastal region of Northern California. All my life they have been terrorizing me, placing themselves where I might accidentally step on them, grossing me out when the car runs over them, and sliming their way through unseen cracks into my house where I discover them and shriek, running for rescue, putting as much distance as possible between me and them to eliminate any possibility of accidentally touching them.

My husband, who used to lead children on nature walks, says that if you lick a banana slug your tongue will go numb, and a lot of the kids on his walks took up the offer with enthusiasm. I can't think of a worse torture than being forced to lick a banana slug, except stepping on one barefoot, which I did once at camp. The trauma of that has never left me.

There were lots of banana slugs at camp. One time when my cabin group went on our weekly outpost (sleeping in the woods) one of my cabin mates found a banana slug. She got a bunch of us together to watch what she said was a fun trick. She brought a salt shaker over and shook salt on the slug, which writhed and slimed and melted until all its insides came out and it shriveled into a hard black mass. We were appalled (all except the girl who did the salting). In a fit of shame she suggested that we give it a christian burial, which we did, but that didn't make me feel any better. To watch someone torturing a helpless creature for fun - even something as grossly disgusting as a banana slug - is a horror that I hope never to experience again.

When God looked at creation and pronounced it good, that included everything that grosses us out or annoys us - bats, mice, scorpions, banana slugs, and a thousand other things. We may wish they didn't exist, but we know that these creatures are fulfilling their niche that they were created for, obeying the laws that God set for them. That's more than we can say for ourselves much of the time.

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