My Neighbor

29 Jul

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This morning as Maggie and I walked, we passed an Echinopsis Pachanoi bending under the weight of more than fifty yet-to-be-birthed, brilliant white flowers.  We’ve watched her begin to show signs of motherhood and each morning we wish her well in her waiting.  Maggie gives her a sniff for encouragement.

With one bloom or fifty, she beautifies the world and causes passersby to stop and sigh appreciatively.  But I worry a little about her future because, and don’t spread this around too much, the Echinopsis Pachanoi is from the Andes Mountains where for more than 3,000 years her ancestors have thrived, producing traditional medicines for humans and animals and offering themselves in ancient religious ceremonies.  They contribute beauty and practical service in their mountains.  They are valued.  Now, here in my neighborhood, she shares her gifts and makes our lives more amazing.

But, I fear for her because she is a transplanted “foreigner”.  She is not one of “us”.  She wasn’t “made in America”…not that much is anymore.  And given the wacky times in which we live, I’m concerned that one day she might be unceremoniously dug up, stuffed in a box and sent back to Bolivia or Peru.  She might even be under surveillance right now because she’s about to populate my street with beauty.

Some people say, with moral certainty,  that you just can’t trust foreigners.   Send all of them back to where they came from.  Round ’em up, boot ’em out, build a wall.  Poor Echinopsis Pachanoi.  All she wants to do is be herself where she’s planted and do what she does best…fill the world with something good.  My life just wouldn’t be the same without her contributions.

I hope we wake up out of our wackiness and welcome some wisdom.

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