Saturday, February 21, 2004

When I was very small, my mother grew plants. To me, this was as much an occupation as her day job, and when people would ask me what my mom did I'd tell them she grew plants. It was her passion, or as close to one of her own as my mother ever got.
One of the plants that she grew was aloe. Aloe plants of varying sizes were scattered all along the perimeter of our trailer, and whenever I would fall and scrape something she'd tell me to break off an aloe leaf and rub it on my wound. I would, and the sting would ease, and so as a matter of course and fairly logical thought I came to see aloe as a magical healing agent. Headache? Rub aloe on my forehead. Wasp sting? Aloe please. If I had severed a limb, I would likely have tried to stem the blood flow with an aloe leaf, or maybe two.
(As an aside, I developed my own art to breaking off the leaves. If I did it wrong the tough outer skin of the plant would protrude farther than the soft, gooey inside and it would irritate my cuts further. I had to make up a special aloe grip.)
I've never been a big fan of modern medicines, and I blame this to some extent on my complete belief as a small child of the healing powers of plants. I don't take aspirins or pain killers or, if I can help it, antibiotics.
But I'm a bit concerned: I haven't seen an aloe plant anywhere in Seattle yet.

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