Snails and Seasons
“The eyes of all look to you, O God, and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living creature.”
I love snail season in rural southern Spain. Every Spring, every little restaurant in every little town puts up a handmade sign—Hay caracoles! We have snails! Many of them also announce that the snails are local, from right here. I can’t tell the difference between one town’s snails and another’s, but it’s important to people to be clear: these snails are ours, these are the best!
I resonate with this claim about the best-ness of home. And especially with the fact that eating snails is a limited seasonal pleasure. It’s good to know there’s still “a time for every purpose under heaven,” still things to look forward to, things to savor with special joy, treats you dress up and go out for, a time and place for different delights.
The age-old virtue of deferred desire and local pleasure—the acceptance of the grace of this thing and no other, this day and no other—is all but lost in our culture. Although some New Englanders like me still won’t eat corn or tomatoes unless right from the fields in late summer, if we want to we can gratify pretty much every desire the moment it seizes us. Check your supermarket, it’s all there.
But, as Joan Chittester reminds us, “Life is a never-ending series of harvests, a different fruit for every time. Wisdom lies in taking the best each stage has to give, being patient with ourselves and others along our way, and savoring every different thing in its time, in its place, in its season.”
The reward of patience is delight. I wish it for us all.
Prayer: Teach us to be satisfied with today’s delights, O God, savoring each grace in its time and place, grateful and glad. Amen.