A Walk In The Woods And The Dangling Slug


A slug exploring turkey feather mushrooms

The woods were fluttering with moths and oozing with slugs.

The path I mowed in the spring to the Gulley Bridge and stone wall, is thick with grasses and bushes taller than me.  I gather the morning’s rain from them as they brush up against me.  My boots sink in mud, wade through fern-covered marsh, soak in the rushing tannin-colored streams.

The woods are dark, wet, and comforting.

I lean my hand on the big old hickory and when I take it away a tiny slug is sliding across my finger.  I place my finger near a small slug traversing a mushroom.   It pulls in its antennas, then reaches them out again, testing my finger.

But the slug decides against it and curls its body under the mushroom instead.

I walk further and there is a  thin slug hanging about an inch and a half long, hanging by its tail from what looks like a spider’s silk.  I think to free it, but then wonder how the slug could have gotten there.

The strand is attached to a low-hanging maple leaf.  I squat resting on my heels and watch as the slug twirls and spirals as it dangles.  I can see that the thread it is hanging from is growing longer, though, like watching a clock,  I can’t see it happening.

And I wonder if the strand isn’t a spider’s but one made by the slug.  A quick way to travel perhaps?

I hold a stick near the slug’s head thinking it may attach itself to it, but instead, it pulls in its antenna and stops descending.

Zinnia is walking under the swaying slug and I think it must be frightened.  So I call the dogs and sit on a log three feet away.  I’ll be still and watch it from a distance, give it space.  I sit for a while, but it doesn’t seem to move. I turn my head for just a moment, and when I look back, the slug and the strand are gone.

I can’t find it on the forest floor.   But it doesn’t matter.

The slug got to where it was going and I got to witness something I’d never seen before.  Something I didn’t even know was a possibility.

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