Monday, May 7, 2012
My mind was racing a bit late last night, so I went for a nice long walk around the neighborhood to clear my head before I went to bed. Sunday was a beautiful day that had slowly dissolved into a warm Southern California evening. It's so calm and peaceful after dark, sometimes it's hard to believe I'm in the middle of a major metropolitan area. (And that's coming from a girl who grew up walking out her back door to disappear into miles of farmland and riverbanks.) My flip flops barely made any sound on the sidewalk and all the beautiful condominium and apartment buildings looked sleepy and warm in the glow of their exterior accent lighting. Soft vocal jazz flowed from my ear buds and I felt the tension in my neck and shoulders release it's hold. My mind started to let go of all the endless nonsense about acting/finances/love/life/what-have-you and just admired the beauty in the details of what was around me. I noticed the wide range of architectural styles and the unique artistry in each of them. I felt the swish of the palm trees as they moved above my head. I saw fountains and statues I had never seen before, and felt the velvet texture of flowers in impeccably landscaped beds.
Then, I came across a snail who was booking it across the sidewalk. I knelt down to take a closer look and became utterly fascinated by this little creature. He was working so hard, but moving so slowly across what must have seemed like an endless stretch of cold, harsh cement. I watched his little gooey body as it stretched out and hauled that beautiful shell along. After a moment I stood to continue walking, but after a few steps I had to turn back. I wanted to see that little guy make it to the soft grass at the edge of the sidewalk. I wanted to see him finally get to where he was working so hard to go. I suppose, in part I wanted to protect him from anything that would stop him in the final stretch, but mostly I just wanted to share the in his victory when he finally made it.
"Do you need help looking for something?" A voice startled me a little and I looked up to see a man walking his dog along the sidewalk across the street.
I laughed and said, "Oh, no, thank you. I was just, um... watching this snail cross the sidewalk... wondering why he was doing it."
The man smiled and said, "I thought you lost a key or something. Did you figure out why?"
"Uh... to get to the other side, I guess." We both laughed. (Me at myself for being crazy girl watching snails cross the sidewalk at 11:30 at night and him... probably because he'd just encountered crazy girl watching snails cross the sidewalk who couldn't resist a bad chicken-crossed-the-road joke.)
Still, I walked away thinking that little snail was awfully brave. The world may not have noticed him chance the death and danger of the sidewalk, but I did. And you know me... I couldn't help but think of my own journey as an actor... There were probably lots of snails who stayed behind in the flower bed. They probably called my little guy crazy for wanting to chase that dream, that he'd never make it. They probably questioned why he would even want to try it when there were many other perfectly sensible and practical adventures to be had within the safety of the garden. Perhaps they even reiterated cautionary tales of the countless others who had attempted the feat and failed, returning to the flower bed defeated... or perhaps never returned at all.
But that little guy was a bona-fide snail rebel. He didn't listen to those well-meaning nay-sayers. Staying in the garden just wasn't good enough for him. He knew he'd never be satisfied without at least trying to get to the other side of the sidewalk. Somehow, it was his destiny to go.
And thank goodness he did. His little act of rebellion reminded this little girl rebel to keep on truckin' on. That the journey may be slow and the sidewalk may seem immeasurably wide and full of danger -- if not physical, at least emotional -- but that it can be traversed. Reaching that other side is possible. I watched him do it.
I only wish he could be around someday to see me make it across my "sidewalk" to reach the red carpet beyond. If he could, I bet he'd have one question for me... "Why did you do it?"
I'd smile and answer with a shrug, "To get to the other side."
(While not the exact hero of our story, the photo above is from the slow moving street art project called "Inner City Snail" by Slinkachu in London, England. http://little-people.blogspot.com/ So great. I bet that little badass wouldn't settle for staying in the flower bed either.)