Elisabeth Schuman Preface A woodland snail, tiny, drab-colored and slow moving, kept my interest in life alive during some of the worst months of a chronic illness. Brought in from the wild and given a new home in a fresh woodland terrarium, the snail was always at my side, living within inches of my bed. We were fellow captives, though for different reasons. I had the key to the snail's release but no key to release me from my own illness. I looked into the terrarium and saw that the snail appeared content: It ate, had adventures, fulfilled a life cycle within its confines. This gave me the thinnest of hopes that perhaps I too would still fulfill dreams, even if they were changed dreams. The terrarium was the only window I could physically look through, due to the limits imposed by a neurologic disease. It provided a view into another world where I could watch all that happened during a time when illness excluded me from participation in my own, human world. The ecosystem in the terrarium was green and growing, and the snail, as I was to discover, had goals and responsibilities. This sparked my curiosity,
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 2002
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