When Cameron delivered the last word on brown garden snails on Monday — great, biblical swarms of the things — I knew I’d have to respond, and visually too, since she said it all so well. I do battle with the demon mollusks a few hundred miles north of Cameron’s besieged garden, as the images above attest. I don’t know whether we’ve got quite the volume of the creatures she gets, but there have been nights when I’ve captured a kilogram’s-worth or more. Like Cameron, I can’t quite bring myself to eat them, though I know they are fed on the finest organic greens and seedlings. But I’m not so gentle as she when it comes to relocation — mine go straight into the home compost pile, so I’m getting their nutrients one way, if not the other.
When I first encountered the snails a few years ago, I was delighted and mesmerized. But as their numbers increased with the spring rains, the shoots and leaves in my garden disappeared and the slime trails on the patio multiplied into superhighways, my joy turned to concern, and concern first to horror and then, finally, to grim deadly determination. I am heartless now in my persecution of the snails — I have become hardened, numb to the brutality I mete out most every night. I have lost a part of my soul, in other words, but I have gained a whole world of salad. We all must live with the bargains we make.