Snails and Marcovaldo

I blogged earlier about selfishness and the busyness of the American life. Another negative aspect of our busy schedules is the lack of appreciation for beauty in the small things of creation. We are consumed with cars, clothes, houses, etc., when the things of nature, such as leaves, trees, and the sky provide much more beauty. If you ever come to realize the unique complexity of vegetation, the distinct behavior of wildlife, and the expanse of our universe, you will be struck with utter amazement.

The Format, wrote a song called “Snails” that includes these lyrics:
“Snails see the benefits
The beauty in every inch”

I read a book a few months ago called Marcovaldo or the Seasons in the City by Italo Calvino. He opens the novel with this:
“This Marcovaldo posses an eye ill-suited to city life; billboards,
traffic-lights, shop-windows, neon signs, posters, no matter how
carefully devised to catch the attention, never arrested his gaze,
which might have been running over the desert sands.  Instead, he
would never miss a leaf yellowing on a branch, a feather trapped by a
roof-tile; there was no horsefly on a horse’s back, no worm-hole in a
plank, or fig-peel squashed on the sidewalk that Marcovaldo didn’t
remark and ponder over, discovering the changes of season, the
yearnings of his heart, and the woes of this existence.”

I think we need to be more like snails and Marcovaldo. Let’s follow their lead and admire and appreciate every inch of God’s creation.


  1. Katie,

    Great insights and exhortations. Your post reminded me of the opening chapter of a book by G.K. Chesterton called Tremedous Trifles. It is a short essay about two boys who were transformed by a fairy into a giant and a pigmy. It encapsulates Chesterton’s philosophy of life and would be a great compliment and encouragement on the coat-tails of your thoughts. I encourage you to read it:

    You can get the whole book for free online here: It is a collection of essays so you’ll have to scroll down on click on links on the left side of the webpage.

    Or you can buy it in good old fashioned paper for the price of a McDonald’s Value Meal here:

  2. BTW, since reading that chapter I have never been able to walk across the field to RAB without looking down at the grass under my feet and wondering how many trillions of blades of grass there are in the world…

  3. This book sounds awesome. I’ll have to check it out. You should also check out “Man Alive” by G.K. Chesterton. It’s very much along the same lines of seeing life from that unique perspective of taking pleasure in things most people overlook or take for granted.

  4. This is so TRUE. People are so busy that they dont stop to see God’s creation. I include myself in that category. Thank you Katie for the reminder..creatiion is a beauty.

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