Swagger

I just rescued a snail from a watery grave. I was rinsing dandelion greens in preparation for a tisane. The sink had a few inches of cold water in it to help soak off the dirt.

First I saw the shell: a delicate, cream colored spiral. I thought, good, no pesticides. Then, on the silver metal bottom of the sink, I saw the snail’s body, the same color as mine. I thought, oh, no, too bad. Then, hmmm, good protein; wonder if the farm really is organic. (Yes, now that I’m back in the big city, I actually buy dandelions.)

I finished rinsing the greens, put them in a pot with water, and drained the sink. When I pulled out the strainer-stopper, I looked more closely at the snail. Horns out. Hmmm.
Waited.

Yep, moving … slowly … shell-less. I took a leaf that had been headed for compost, and tipped the snail out of the strainer onto it. Then out into the big world for both of us. I set the leaf with the snail under some volunteer lamb’s ear in a neighbor’s yard — the neighbor who does not use Round-up like my landlord; the neighbor who pretty much ignores his yard and lets plants live or die as they please.

How long will it take to grow a new shell? Can she survive without one?
I lost my home, too, and it is taking a while to recover my equilibrium.

On my office wall is a collage-type greeting card with fragments of: a picture of a road winding through greenery and around a hill; a map; a dictionary page with the words wandering, vagabond, gypsy, nomadic, migrant; and ‘The American Woman’ postage stamp. The so-called greeting (message) is this: There were times she lost her way. But she never lost her grit and swagger. Oh yeah, and there’s also a picture of a big-ass DETOUR sign at the bottom of the card. My life.

I lost my swagger for a decade or so, though not consecutive. It faded away in dribs and drabs; was beaten out of me by lovers, family members, and my own stupid beliefs.

But swagger’s like a weed – it keeps coming back.
My hips sway as I stride down the street, head up, arms swinging, I’m singing,

Gettin’ my swagger back
I’m gettin’ my swagger back
Can’t stop me for long
Can’t top me for long
I’m gettin’ my swagger ba-ack
gettin’ my swagger
gettin’ my swagger
Gettin’ my swagger ba-a-ack!

swaggering ranuncula

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