Growing in Plain sight

Following Amazonian wisdom that all the medicine one needs in life will already be there, growing at one’s feet. I decided not only to let the weed growing on my windowsill live, I gave it its own pot. I don’t know what plant it is, but I know that the birds that visit me every day like it, and that it might have been them who brought it to me. Or maybe it was the air. I don’t know. In the same way we don’t know many things about how this world operates, hiding in plain sight.

That is why I shivered when my old friend pronounced that wisdom, which had apparently saved the life of her husband. I hadn’t seen her for such a long time, and I had never ever encountered them apart. So we immediately sat down for coffee. The news of what had happened to him was terrifying. The doctors couldn’t find it. Everything seemed fine with him, but of course nothing was fine. They tried many things, exhausting logic—that is, of course, until another appeared.

An alternative healer asked them what those plants growing just outside their house were. I don’t know. They’re not part of our garden. They just grow there. Dunno.

Make him a warm foot bath immediately. Put the leaves of this plant in it. Do it now.

We finished a leisurely coffee break with no rush to get back to our businesses, because the world around us was closing down in the middle of the day. A virus was coming.

I walked home in the rain, ruminating not only about what could have possibly transpired to cure my friend so magically, but how messages get delivered to us as if by the wind, perhaps in the moment we most need them, maybe like the medicine we were looking for had always been there, growing in plain sight.

Upon reaching home, I was inspecting all my all my plants as usual, when I noticed a newcomer sprouting from a pot of flowers. I didn’t know it was on the eve of going inside, not returning to life as I had known it. So the very next day, the first day of what seemed a new life, I decided to keep the stranger, because, who knows?  I just might need it to cure me, if only by contemplating that I do not decide what grows where and how, and that there is a logic at work, all around, teaching in plain sight.

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A native of Chicago, Ricky Toledano has lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for over twenty years as a writer, translator and teacher. [a]multipicity is multi-lingual collection of reflections through the humanities.

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