My husband found this on the new books shelf at our local library a couple days ago. I began to read this small, but profound book and captured this part to share, "At age thirty-four on a brief trip to Europe, I was felled by a mysterious viral or bacterial pathogen, resulting in severe neurological symptoms. I had thought I was indestructible. But I wasn't. If anything did go wrong, I figured modern medicine would fix me. But it didn't."
Ms. Bailey is bedridden, then moved from her New England farm to a studio apartment where she is cared for. In early Spring a friend visits and takes a walk in the woods where she gathers some field violets and digs them up to plant in a terra-cotta pot then places a snail she found beneath the leaves. She brings the pot into the studio and puts it by Ms. Bailey's bedside.
I am very moved by her dialogue on the snail which she starts watching after her initial resistance at it being "not of much interest and if it was alive, the responsibility - especially for a snail, something so uncalled for - was overwhelming."
Lying there all day and night she observes the ways of the snail. It moves out from the soil beneath the leaves and explores the flowerpot, the dish beneath it and eventually, up to where I have read, the crate the pot is sitting on.
This got me to thinking about paths we take in life. Some of our paths are like the ancient paths that became dirt roads, that became highways, that became freeways. And even if these paths cause us pain, sometimes we are unable to go any other way but the deep gouge we have created. Other paths diverge from the ancient paths and create positive change in our lives due to our curiosity or desire. Still other paths may cause us pain and we must turn back and get on a more pleasant path or they are in danger of becoming unpleasant ancient paths. Even positive change paths could grow unpleasant and we would have to face another change. What do we choose?
What if we become afraid to take a new path? What are we missing? What if Ms. Bailey had told her friend to take the snail back out to the field? What up close observations of a tiny life form would she be missing?
I look forward to her unfolding story and it's one I want to take my time with and savor. I have already been provoked to think about how I can make more of the life I am living, to create even more richness and flexibility, so that I don't become afraid to go down new paths, ever.