I mean, it just seems like the polite thing to do: slugs give folks the willies, but I don’t want to surprise anyone, all— HEY, LOOK AT THESE SLUGS, because I don’t think that’s what anybody is coming here for, you know? I’ve got to talk to you about the leopard slugs, though. I really, really do.
I mean, nobody is forcing me, but I’m going to anyway.
About two years ago I was doing trunk shows on Long Island. A lot of trunk shows on Long Island, actually; New York, SW CT and MA were good markets for Cephalopod Yarns, and I did a ton of trunk shows up that way. One of the first things I noticed on the Island were the leopard slugs; I was sitting outside my Air BnB one evening, saw a couple of them just crawling along and just sort of watched in horror. I’m not scared of slugs, but I also don’t like them; they’re just… meh. Snails, yes. Slugs, ick.
Leopard slugs are these huge, spotted monster slugs; they can grow to 4- 8 inches (some of you are beginning to understand that whole “horror” bit now, I’m guessing) and if you see one, look for a whole bunch more; I’ve never seen a solo leopard slug. They aren’t native to the States, but they’ve been here for a few centuries. Click that link for more info and some pictures; I didn’t want to put any in the post, so as not to offend delicate sensibilities, but they’re actually kind of pretty. I mean, for a slug and all.
So here’s the thing: I remember sitting there, on maybe my third, fourth visit to the Island, just staring down a crowd of these slugs and thinking about how boats are pulled out of the water in certain places, you know, where there are invasive species, and cleaned off. I’m not what you’d call a “boat person” (if that’s even what you’d call them?) but I’m a coastal girl and I’ve been around enough of them to know a little— my uncle, my in- laws, my sister M, friends— and I know this one thing, right? If you’re taking your boat out of an area that contains a potentially invasive species, you’re expected to scrub the bottom of your boat.
So I’m staring at these slugs as they drag themselves around, thinking about my car, thinking about how I really, really don’t want these slugs in Maryland. Ever. We have enough wildlife, really. It’s terrific here. Loads of nature. We are rich with the stuff. I’m just not into giant slugs, folks. They are not my thing. But what do you do? It’s not like there’s a car- scrubbing station, and the whole idea is ridiculous. Just one of those silly things you think at 12am after a completely exhausting drive. Whatever. I laugh at myself and go to bed.
Let’s jump forward in time to last Tuesday night, okay? Sam and I are in the backyard, sitting around the firepit, because SUMMER and FIRE and AWESOME. It’s about 11 pm and everything is amazing and I et up to grab a few medium- sized logs to feed the flames and LO AND BEHOLD THERE IS A CROWD, yes, A CROWD OF LEOPARD SLUGS BY THE WOODPILE.
Naturally, because I am incredibly important and influence things like the migration of an entire species, I turn to Sam and say, “I knew I should have scrubbed the goddamned Fiat.”
Right? Anxiety works this way, I know. It’s funny, though, because for one horrible, shameful, hot second I really did think that; this is probably all my fault. I brought an invasive species into the state. I am the worst.
That’s obviously, patently ridiculous; the sort of self- blame I picked up from a childhood of scapegoating, and it’s really helpful to be able to point it out, laugh at it, hold it to the light for the silly, overblown worry that it is. Viewing my anxiety with humor doesn’t change the fact that there are now giant slugs all over my woodpile, though. That’s a reality that won’t change regardless of who is to blame, and I’m pretty grossed out over it.
I guess we’ll end up leaving a pie pan of beer out for them, although they’re so prolific I’m not sure there’s a point, and really, my Buddhist heart isn’t quite all right with that— so perhaps we’re just going to get good with our new, slimy overlords. It’s strange, though; like a blast from the past. I think of my friends Lauren, Todd & Cori who live on the Island every time I see these monsters, which is really weird but also very, very sweet. (I’m so sorry, L. I know that being associated with giant slugs is not terribly flattering, but it does mean I will be thinking of you a LOT, because these things are everywhere.)
Hard break to the right: for these of you here for the Great Yarn Giveaways— I’ll be picking up with the shop and the Giveaways next week. I’ve gone through existing stash and I’ve got things ready to list, so keep an eye out early next week- I’ll put up a post before the shop goes live with new stuff. Best of luck!