Therapeutic Banana Slugs
Updated: Aug 6, 2019
So I realize now I have probably lost half of the people who were going to read this blog post when they saw this picture, and the other half are totally grossed out but want to know more about how slugs are therapeutic, so I congratulate those who are still here lol!
First of all, I don't eat them. Let's just be clear. Slugs are slimy, gooey, and just all round odd little creatures and the thought of eating one is much like the thought of eating chocolate covered grasshoppers...ugh, I think I just lost my cookies.
Each morning I go for a run in the forest near where I live, it is an amazing place where birds are chirping, ferns and moss grow thick, and you can smells the essential oils given off by the cedar trees. It's a place I often go to to decompress and take me away from the sites and sounds of the city. A place of calm and connection to nature.
And each morning I notice a variety of Banana Slugs making their way across the paths from one side to another, oblivious to the fact that it is a human freeway of people walking, running, biking and dog walking. And, as one might expect, the slug death toll is pretty high. Squished slugs everywhere. They really have no defence, no outer shell to protect them from the unsuspecting bike wheel, no way to protect themselves from the runners who's shoes smack down on top of them before they even realize what has happened, no way to move quickly out of the way, I mean, they are slow as slugs! And each time I see one of these coloured little Banana slugs, some with speckles, some brown or all black, some that are even bright green and yellow if you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them!
So you are probably wondering where I am going with this slug story, so here it is. On my morning runs after seeing so much slug carnage over the years I started to feel a little sad for them, they are just small little creatures with zero ability to move themselves out of harms way. So, every morning on my run when I see one on the path I gently pick it up and move it to the forest out of harms way. Now my slug saving abilities is not really the point of this story. Here is the real point. When I run my mind wanders, despite being a sanctuary of peace and tranquility, one cannot help but let the thoughts make their way in, to have a running list of what I need to do, what is stressing me out, and before I know it, I am running faster and faster because my brain is going faster and faster, basically increasing my stress level which is the opposite reason why I went into the forest to begin with!
Until I started to pay attention to the slugs. One day I was doing my cool down walk and I noticed a bright yellow banana slug on a bright neon green mound of moss. His antennas were stretched out and I could see that he was moving that part of his body, his head, despite staying still, so I leaned in close and to my surprise he was chewing on a piece of moss! I had no idea that they had mouths, I mean, I assumed they did because they had to eat, but seeing one actually chew in slow motion, on such a tiny scale was truly mesmerizing! This bright yellow banana slug sat on the green moss chewing another piece of moss so slowly, like a slow motion cow chewing on grass, I was completely in awe. It was at this time that I began to view these slugs as something more then just squishy yellow wormy things. They are life. Little creatures living in our forest floor carrying on, just trying to get by like everyone else. So, from that moment forward, when I come across a slug on the path, I gently move it to a safer place and I have a connection that takes my brain out of stress and back to nature where it belongs.
Banana slugs save me each day from the incessant thoughts that try to run my mind and bring me back to a place of peace and calm. It doesn't matter what your 'thing' is, it's just important that we all take the time to notice the small things, the little things, the nature around us, and how calming and peaceful it really can be. I strongly believe that nature is our teacher, our healer, and when we take the time to notice, we will see and feel a connection greater then the thoughts that control our minds.
~ Monika xo