The Snail and the Sunflower

Last night my husband told me a bed time story as he sometimes does. This story has a back story I should share before I go any further though.

Recently I painted Todd a picture as a thank you for being an amazing life partner and beautiful human being. It was important to me that the picture I painted him be math and science related because those are two of his sweet spots. After lots of thought and looking over some reference photos I decided to paint him a picture of a snail in a sunflower garden. I chose this as my inspiration because both snails and sunflowers are parts of nature where the fibonacci sequence naturally occurs. I also chose this theme because science and nature go hand in hand as well (biology, ecology, etc).

I was worried he wouldn’t get the homage I was trying to pay to these subjects he loves. Not  only did he get it, it turned out to be his favorite piece I have ever made, he even named the snail in the picture Simon. It is now in our bedroom where we can both admire it everyday. I am not going to lie, it is one of my favorites I have ever painted as well. The sunflowers are warm and show good detail and the snail has so much personality. Todd says that Simon looks determined, he has set his mind to something and nothing can get in his way, kind of like the little engine that could.

Last night at bedtime he agreed to tell me a story. I offered to get a Beatrix Potter from my collection of her works but he said he was going to make one up for me. This was a special treat!

I am going to share the story now, with added embellishments from yours truly. The bones of the story belong to my sweet husband (who is secretly very creative), I just added some color.

Simon was a snail that lived among enormous trees, trees so tall he could not even see the top of them. These trees of course we know are actually sunflowers. Simon was curious by nature and wanted to know more about the world around him. Simon was yearning for something in life that he could not quite understand. One day Simon decided to climb to the tippy top of one of the great trees in his forest home. It took him an entire day but once he did he was able to see very far distances and feel the warmth of the sun. In the distance Simon saw a farm and thought it seemed very far away.

That day Simon decided to make the journey out of the comfort of his sunflower garden to the farm in the distance, he was sure whatever it was he was longing for he could find in this strange new place.

It took Simon three long days to make the trek across the sunflower field to the farm, he met many interesting insects and animals along the way. He was tempted once or twice to side track and stay a while with these new spirited characters he met but in his heart he knew he must charge on. Simon was certain his destiny lay just on the other side of the horizon, he was determined to reach the farm and learn his true fate.

On the third day Simon arrived at the farm, the first thing that caught his attention was the farm house itself so he pushed forward to see what good fortune lay ahead. Simon arrived at the farm house, all golden yellow and glowing in the sun, it reminded him of his beloved trees he left behind for a life of adventure and discovery. Simon decided the best plan was to climb up the side of the farm house in order to get a better vantage point of his new surroundings.

After many hours of climbing Simon reached a window that just so happened to be cracked open. He slid under the opening, a breeze blowing against his turquoise spiraled shell. Once inside the farm house Simon was promptly discovered by the farmer’s daughter, Juniper. Juniper loved all living things. Upon meeting Simon she picked him right up and told him that the farm house was no place for a snail, a bird could snatch him off the window sill and have him for an afternoon snack, or the farm cat Camille may think he would be something fun to torment. Juniper delicately carried Simon back into the farm yard all the while telling him about the friends he would make and how happy he would be living on the farm with the others. What others? Simon thought. And what is a friend? This was a new word Simon had never heard before.

Juniper proceeded to carry Simon to a back corner of the farm yard, far away from any potential threats like hungry chickens or curious kittens. Juniper stopped just above a smooth gray stone that was perfectly positioned among a patch of carmine poppies in full bloom. She gently placed Simon down on top of the stone, it was toasty from baking in the brilliant autumn sun. This is when Simon met another snail who looked remarkably like him, her shell happened to be a swirl of violet, indigo, and rose rather than the turquoise and gray that shimmer and shone on his back.

My name is Sally, the new snail said. I’m Simon, he replied. Would you like to be friends Simon? It gets awful lonely here in the poppy patch and it would be oh so nice to have a companion to go through life with. Without any need for explanation Simon suddenly knew in his soul what it meant to be a friend and have a companion to share life with. He also knew this is what was missing and this is what his heart had longed for back in his sunflower field. Yes. Yes, Sally I think I would.

And together Sally and Simon lived out their days in the poppy patch, on the farm, near the sunflower field, under the great blue sky.

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