The water strider worked his way upstream with effort-filled jerks, then turned and strode gracefully back down, barely dimpling the surface of the water and casting oval-shaped shadows on the streambed with each of his feet. He repeated this endeavor over and over. Once when he neared me, I glanced down to look at him and instead noticed two tiny eyes pointing in my direction… tiny eyes on the end of tiny tentacles under several inches of water.
It took me a moment to determine what the tentacles were attached to, since their snail was covered with algae and was moving very, very slowly, across the algae-coated rock under the water. He was moving so slowly and apparently gently that he wasn't even disturbing the pearl-like bubbles on the rock's surface. I watched, engrossed, over the next several minutes, as the snail moved about a centimeter closer, first sliding his foot a millimeter or two, then pausing before hitching his shell along to catch up with his foot.
I held my cell phone down by the water to take a close-up of the snail to hopefully see him better than I could from my perch on the steeply sloped stone on the bank of the stream. I snapped the photo, then looked at my phone to see the snail…and looked again… There was no snail on the screen on my phone… Instead I saw, a clear, detailed shot of tree branches and green leaves against the blue sky…
I looked again at the stream and there was the snail. Then, with effort, I adjusted my focus and finally saw the reflection from above that I had missed while focusing on the strider on the water and the snail below the water.