Baptism in mud

Alone, dying, all I believed was leaving me
like a freshly stomped snail oozing its final essence.

My slow, deliberate journey
away from the protected garden
had exposed me to the crushing power
of every challenge, each negation.
I felt a boot on my shell
and instinctively curled myself,
preparing for the inevitable.

But the earth, turned soft by my sweat,
cushioned me, yielded to my form, understood.
I was immersed in mud and not suffocating!
The boot, defeated, withdrew.
I emerged, stretched, and continued
far from the garden whose protection
I no longer required.
The ground was now forever firm below.