it rained most of the morning, a long, slogging downpour, and after it ended around noon there was a lovely lull when the wind died down and the air was crisp. so I took my dogs for a long walk on the trail next to our house.
the trail is a former railroad and was restructured years ago by the local snowmobile club into a gravel horse and bike trail in the summer, and groomed for snowmobiles in the winter. this last winter was one of the few in the decade-plus we've lived here when we had deep enough precipitation to accomadate the machines, and they used it every moment they could. last spring the rains washed out huge swaths of it, including the bridge made from railties a few miles down the trail, but replacement fill was trucked in and in the year since it has been made solid so that unless you look at the places where trees were washed away you could not tell.
at any rate, in the woods coming back I came across a beautiful snail slowly walking across the path. I was surprised--I hadn't seen snails here although plenty of slugs in my gardens. this one was beautiful and banded and its shell looked like it had been lathed out of mahogany. I picked it up and it sunk so deep into its shell so fast that if I hadn't known it was in there, the weightlessness of the package would have convinced me it was empty. I was intrigued enough to look up how snails develop their shells. I put it back down almost exactly where I'd plucked it from and went on.