Getting to Know the Neighbors

While I was writing this article, I realized this is a good analogy for what is happening in the world and the US today.—Kay Nairn

A Slug Encounter, by Kay Nairn

When I moved from Utah to the Pacific Northwest in the mid ’70s, one of the many things I had to adjust to was the slug. I’d never seen a slug before, and thought I had never seen anything to ugly. I love animals, but I just couldn’t even like slugs. I would sometimes camp on the Chinook grounds and when a friend bought land next door I would camp out there—often right on the ground.

I once found a slug in my tent, and shortly after that I woke up with a slug on my head. Ewww.

That’s when I realized that if I was going to stay outdoors in this area, I was going to have to learn to not hate or fear the creatures.

The best way to let go of hate and fear is to get to know the other. So . . . I spent a few hours following a slug around the Farm Loop trail, and off the trail, and over and under fallen twigs and leaves, and into places I would never have gone without a little creature to show me the way. I found that slugs do move slowly most of the time, but they can skitter along pretty fast when they feel threatened. I became fascinated by their feelers and how rapidly they withdraw them and move them, and by how they chew.

By the end of the afternoon, I’d gained a great appreciation for slugs. While I can’t say I love them, spending time with a slug turned my dislike into curious appreciation.

Photo by MrsAirWolfhound via Flickr Creative Commons
  • Declan Travis

    I share your curious appreciation for this Pacific Northwest icon! Here’s the shelled variety cruising across a sunflower;-) http://bit.ly/21X3mTi