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Chiquita Pero Picosa

Once upon a time, my Comadre and Compadre gifted me the most beautiful chile piquín plant. It was the first I had ever owned, and I decided to keep it in a pot so that it was easy to move around the yard. So what happened next, could have been avoided if I hadn’t been such a huevón. Much like the beautiful familia that gifted me this plantita, it was full of life and thriving. Anyone familiar with these plants knows that when you pick off the red and green chiles, it stimulates the plant to produce more of its tiny colorful ovate pods. This one plantita provided my family with over 4 years of year-round pica and sabor. Sadly, after all of the sweat, pain, and tears that this plant brought us, it met its untimely end. Not in the winter ice storm of 2021, but instead in the more tame winter storm of 2022. I mourned for the plant, not only because it was gifted to me with love from my familia, but because I felt I had neglected to properly care for such a seemingly indestructible plant. But in the words of Robin Harris and BeBe’s Kids, “We don’t die, we multiply.” So imagine my surprise when 3 months ago I stumbled upon the bebé of my original plantita! I immediately began to think deeply about its survival and resilience. How this frail-looking plantita could weather the worst of storms, with little to no attention and seemingly able to survive on its own. More importantly, when I thought it had died, I had failed to consider the seeds of life this plant often disperses to continue the life cycle that has provided so much of our gente with the punch of pica that comes with each tiny pod.

A lot can be learned when comparing the chile piquín plant to one’s own life. Although resilient and able to weather the storms that leave us battered and bruised, we are not indestructible. The toll that this world takes on our mind, body, and soul, is intense enough to wear any of us down. Even those of us with seemingly indestructible fronts. We cannot grow and maintain on our own, and just like a deep root system supports an unwatered plant, we need to reach out to our network whether things are mas o menos or ¡A huevo!

Reflecting on how incredibly abundant in fruit these plants are, I can’t help but think about the fruits of our labor and growth and how sharing that fruit with others is vital so that they can find the nourishment they need. Imagine no scarcity mindset around the sharing of knowledge, experience, or network. Only the belief that the more we give, the more we get back.

There is so much more I want to share and compare, but I think we’re good for now so I’ll just leave it there. Or maybe just one last thing.

A wise woman once told me “Verde es Vida”, and I gotta agree. But if verde es vida, then rojo es sangre.

-Be well, come up, and stay down.

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