After-Rain Walk in Times of Lockdown and “Escargot”

The coronavirus lockdown has caught us in Brussels. Luckily for us, since the Belgian lockdown still allowed us to go out with little gosling for a stroll; although taking a stroll with him qualifies more as exercise :)))). And that made a huge difference. 

At the end of almost four sunny, warm, summer-like weeks, rain and chill had a comeback. However this only meant we’d take our daily walk dressed a bit warmer. A good occasion to try the new baskets (that little gosling had wanted me to return since he saw them in the delivery box, without even trying them on) and wear his new spring/autumn jacket. Little gosling determinedly marked the pace and direction; instead of going, as usual, through the string of parks close to home, he had us wander the streets. 

First he wanted to see the excavator (“efekelu” in his own words) helping rearrange part of one of the streets close to home. It’s been a must see for some weeks now, he’s completely fascinated by it. It was already past working hours so all was quiet and he quickly lost interest. Then we stopped at every house to say hello to the plants: “hello white flowers!”; “hello pink flowers!” If, by any chance, the small courtyard or garden in front of the house was unlocked, he made me chase him out of there laughing and giggling. We guessed the colour of every car parked on the side of the street – lots of grey and beige (a new word and colour little gosling learnt on the occasion), until we finally ended up in a park. 

Strolling down the alleys he almost kicked something that to him resembled a little stone: it was a snail!!! Crossing the alley. We squatted down together and I started singing “melc, melc, codobelc….”. The snail first withdrew in its shell; we had invaded its space. Little gosling got up and quickly got away. He was scared. A couple of steps further, another snail! This time, we left a little bit more space and sat down, looking at its slow crawl across the alley. I showed baby the shell, the body, the tentacles and sang some more. He was interested for quite some time. More families with small kids approached, so we moved on, but spent the rest of the walk looking out for more snails. We spotted one more. 

On our way home, we passed the two flower circles that had been full of blooming beautiful pink and yellow (“lăuă”) tulips over the past weeks. A bit of rain and wind and all petals had fallen on the ground and stalks laid bare. Little gosling was so sad… He used to spend many minutes looking at the flowers and running in circles around them. I remember the first time he brought a petal to me, asking what it was, he laughed so hard; he found the word “petal” terribly amusing. Now he was like “ooohhh…petals fall… mommy put back petals”. I explained that was not possible and that tulips had reached the end of their life cycle. I don’t know what he made of it, but he repeated “put back petals noo”.  

At home, after we told daddy all about our walk, little gosling looked with interest at “Escargot”: a silly, endearing and entertaining monologue of a charming, playful and somewhat vain French snail (dressing the iconical Breton shirt) who tries to convince the reader to choose it as favorite animal and race it to the delicious salad with croutons and light vinaigrette at the end of the book (story by Dashka Slater, illustrations by Sydney Hanson). Lovely, simple illustrations showing a truly beautiful (who suddenly, is not so slimy anymore) snail, that can make one fall in love with this tiny animal. It’s so fun to act it out and the French words here and there make the enterprise more amusing. Little gosling loved the image of the snail hiding in its shell and thought it was playing peek-a-boo :))). 

Leave a Comment