Lessons from a fig tree to get rid of crises

“Do not hesitate. Do not hesitate. Do not be surprised. Do not fear”, Miyamoto Musashi.

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Lessons from a fig tree to get rid of crises
Lessons from a fig tree to get rid of crises

He hugged me weakly.

“I'll take care of my plants,” he whispered in a broken voice.

It was the only phrase that the venerable lady said to me before saying goodbye. I immediately felt in my chest that I had a responsibility for something that was important to her. When I went to the terrace and reviewed them with new eyes, I realized that they were abandoned. The old clay pots were full of mold, and the plants survived on water they somehow miraculously obtained without human intervention. In particular, the fig tree planted in a small box of earth caught my attention.

“It's an old plant,” he said, “I don't know who.” Cut it all because it has a plague.

I was silent thinking that maybe I was right. Sure enough, the leaves were starting to turn yellow and had holes, perhaps a fungus. Besides, since twenty visible snails chewed it cheerfully, I assumed that at its roots it was worse.

I put tobacco on the ground and made an infusion for its leaves, I took care of it for a long time and with discipline. The snails declined, but the “fungus” advanced. The entire trunk was hollow from its bark; deep scars from their long battle. This tree had probably been under attack for years and it looked like it had finally been defeated. Everything was drying up.

I don't know who, he said again:

—Cut the whole tree, it will infect other plants, and it also looks ugly.

I said nothing. I sighed and started cutting the few remaining leaves, but I didn't dare cut it down. I left it as an “ornament”, respecting the aesthetics of no one: A trunk without leaves, as a memory of the tender old lady who commissioned the plants from her property. I touched the tree, or what was left of it, and apologized for failing.

Nearby, a bougainvillea was approaching its companion's limp stem. I let branches of that purple bougainvillea grow and imagined the fig tree again surrounded by life and color, even though it was dead. But the bougainvillea avoided him and kept going. The dry, pockmarked trunk was left alone.

Visible years of infestation, three months completely dry and without leaves. Today, the fig tree is leafy; large, green, and fragrant leaves adorn it. He was born again! She looks strong, wanting to continue living many more years. How could it be? Three weeks ago I was evicted … but two weeks ago I already had a few small shoots, and three days ago a first fig appeared!

I don't know who, he said to me:
“Sure … it's because of the station.”

But this time, I was not silent:
“You're wrong,” I replied, “it's something else … it's called resisting.”

A friend called me a few hours ago, concerned and anxious about the Covid-19 situation and the impending recession:
“I don't know who Alejandro said, but I remember very well that I read that things will get much worse than we think, double-digit contraction … two-digit.” go figure! They say we should cut …

While he was venting with opinions of important people that he did not remember, I saw the beautiful fig tree from the window. I finally understood and smiled sincerely for the first time in many days. It was one, what do you call it …? Epiphany?

“It's just about resisting, friend, with all the complications and depth that this implies.” Be the resistance and live — I replied with confidence.

He didn't answer anything anymore, I think he thought he was raving about the running of the bulls. And maybe so, or maybe …

To resist

From lat. resist.

1. tr. Tolerate, endure.

2. tr. Combat passions, desires, etc. U. tc prnl.

3. foreword Said of a body or a force: To oppose the action or violence of another. U. tc tr. and c. prnl.

4. foreword Said of a person or an animal: survive.

5. foreword Said of one thing: last (continue serving).

6. prnl. Said of a person: to oppose something strongly.


From lat. late resistance.

1. f. Action and effect of resist or resist.

2. f. Ability to resist.

3. f. Group of people who, generally clandestinely, oppose with different methods the invaders of a territory or a dictatorship.

4. f. In psychoanalysis, the patient's opposition to recognizing his unconscious impulses or motivations.

5.   F. Electr. Element that is inserted in a circuit to modify the current flow or to produce heat.

6 . F. Phys. Force that opposes the action of another force.

Don't hesitate
Do not hesitate
Not be surprised
Do not fear.

Miyamoto Musashi, undefeated samurai.

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