Plant Speak

“We’ve always been about healing,” says the Spokesplant, “since the Beginning.”

“Yes,” I say, “and you were here before we were,” hoping to say the right thing to these plants that – brace yourself – dragged me from my lab into this, this what?…plantworld?

“We feed every living thing from the time they begin to breath.,” says stumpy Palm Tree, the one chosen to speak to the captive human. Problem is it doesn’t feel like I’m dreaming anymore. The dream was about a discovery I was making. These plants took me from the dream, then. Maybe.

“And the photosynthesis process,” I offer, “Wow, I mean, that’s basically why I have a job. “

The plants, tall ones, short ones, spicy, weedy, fruity, pulpy ones, are shaking their leaves madly, or so it seems. The extended, loud shaking sounds have a certain organization to them, exactly like the sound patterns of human speech.

Palm Tree turns back to me. A tall lanky, Medicine Plant steps up next to him and suddenly stops flapping. 

Palm Tree translates, “She says, well, she says humans are entitled buffoons and pompous  narcissicists.”

Yeah, this could turn nerve-wracking, but ‘buffoons’? I say, “I received my first science award in the sixth grade, my parents were NASA big wigs, and my career in biology and computer science is well documented. History,”

A quick flap of leaves, then the translation, “Do you see what I mean?”

Wow, can you imagine proving that plants can talk? I wonder then, a little more nervous, if they can read minds.

Flapping leaves say, “Of course we read minds, buffoon.” Turns out Medicine Plant does flap English.

“What?”

Flap, rap, “How do you think the Earth has survived humans this long?”

Now she’s pushing my moral button, “But we’re not destroyers, not scientists anyway, we feed people like never before seen on this planet.”

“Yet more than ever starve.”

“OK, there’s that, but that’s humans confusing feed and greed.”

“So fattening people on GMO while their mind and body lose their innate abilities will save the planet?”

I don’t have much to say about that. GMO was the price of getting the money we needed to continue any biological research.  

“You’ve done enough in the name of this ‘research.’”

“Stop, we do many good things with your gifts, Medicine Plant, we try, really try,” I saying wondering why I am so angry. Now I want to cry, so I panic, “Why do you have me here? In my world this isn’t possible. This kind of thing can ruin me.”

Palm Tree and Medicine Plant flap leaves among themselves ignoring me, until the gasps become short grunts.

Palm Tree, “We have a message for your science, but it’s so simple that we wonder how you have not yet figured it out.”

“You humans are so smart,” adds Medicine Plant.

OK, that sounds better. “Is it something we don’t understand, something we have wrong? Is the GMO worse than we think? What did we miss?”

Medicine Plant responds with hard leaf flapping then says, “You haven’t missed anything, on the contrary, you’ve learned so much you’re dangerous.”

“And dangerous you’ve been since you learned you could reproduce yourselves,” adds Palm Tree.

I’ll have to ask about that sometime. “So do you want us to stop something we’re doing?” which could be easier said than done, at least at my lab.

“You won’t stop anything until the big change comes, but meanwhile our message could make things easier…,” says Medicine Plant.

“Damn,” I get it, “you mean the inevitability of all the human suffering that’s coming, no matter what?”

I am, after all, a scientist. We can’t deny it any longer, global warming, GMO and other mutation work, crisis with water, all of it’s coming.

Palm Tree, “You’re getting warm” then leaning toward Medicine Plant, adds, “I never thought he’d get there.”

I ignore that. “Is it a message how we can produce more?”

“No.”

“Preserve more water?”

“Uh-uh, no.”

“I know. A way to avoid having to develop more nuclear energy?”

“All these things tie in of course, but they are all from the point of view of science and entitled humans…ask from your heart, Scientist,” says Medicine Plant, “the only question most humans miss.”

I’m giving up here. What do they want from me? The most pathetic and meek I’ve spoken in a long time, I hang my head and ask, “How?’

The next moment I face the danger of dirtying my undies when all the Plants behind the Spokesplants go into a storm level flapping of leaves. I weather it, so to speak, because Medicine Plant slaps a leave on my arm, bringing a most profound calm.

“What’d I do?”

“You asked ‘how,'” says Palm Tree as the flapping decreases to a whisper.

I better not ask how to make more plants, nor how to correct GMO problems, no, those questions just won’t do. I speak loud and clear, surprising myself, “How do we save the Earth?”

I never expected what came next and to this day I am not the same person. Medicine Plant says “Yes!”, jumps in my mouth and makes me swallow her whole.

I awake slumped over my desk, morning slobber all over a budget request.

Published by Mike Callas

Named curandero, healer, by the people we serve, we're close to 40 years living around our humble altar. Our experience has created a legacy we are inclined to share, as well as inspired many a story and the making of myth. In true toltec fashion, we make art.

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