Last weekend I participated in a four day intensive training on Inka mysticism in Saratoga, CA. The workshop was to prepare a group of us for a two week trip we will be taking to Peru later this summer to participate in Hatun Karpay, the Great Initiation of the Inkas. A large part of the workshop entailed learning about the local nature spirits - how to evoke them and make offerings to them. At one point we were asked to search the forest for a water "khuya", or power object. I walked into the forest and down toward Todd Creek, the stream that runs through Sanborn Park. While walking down a steep embankment toward the streem, I came across the large yellow slug. I have never seen a slug like this before, yet intuatively I know this must be called a banana slug. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me at the time so I was not able to take a picture of my discovery in the forest. I continued the search for my khuya and was hopeful that the slug would be here when I could return with my camera.
The next day I traveled back to the same spot, hopeful that I would find the slug again. Indeed, the slug was about two feet from where I saw it the previous day. Through research on the Internet I discovered from Donna Hill that the habitat of the banana slug is forest floors on the West Coast of North America ranging from California up to Alaska. One of their favorite foods is mushrooms - which makes a lot of sense given the ecosystem that they live in. To prevent themselves from drying out during long dry periods, slugs estivate, which is like hibernation except it occurs during hot dry spells. They become inactive, secrete a mucous shield and insulate themselves with a layer of soil and leafy debris.
I am thankful for the opportunity provided by the slug for me to get to know this creatures ecosystem. It has a lovely, peaceful and serene home.