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Snail's Eye View

My kids were sick last week for what felt like an eternity. Spring had (finally!) sprung, tulips planted by wily squirrels were popping up in the garden, and we were couch-bound with tissues and thermometers and the sound of Blippi's nonstop giggling coming from the TV.

How grateful we were to step into the sunshine on Easter Monday with a clean bill of health. A trip to Costco was on the agenda that morning, but we took a much-needed detour to a little park near a ravine. The park turned out to be nothing special, but something special happened there.

The boys were collecting empty snail shells when we met a new friend. His name, my 5-year-old told me with complete certainty, was Maple.

This might not sound momentous, but when you've just come through a six-month Canadian winter capped by a week of quarantine, an encounter with Maple the Snail (a.k.a. Maple the Snaple) feels pretty magical.

On our bellies in the grass, we looked Maple straight in the eye (antenna?). We talked to and about him and exchanged pseudoscientific facts — "Snails love the sun"; "His body is made of liquid" — as we watched Maple slither his way along the entire length of a broken tree branch.

Were it not for the instant bond between Maple and my kids, I would have missed out on a snail's eye view of the world, so small and so vast. A Chestnut's Three Wishes invites us to take on that point of view, the view from that low, earthy place where kids feel so at home and where they notice everything.

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