“Why doesn’t God speak to me? If He at least coughed!” – Woody Allen

I lived one year in the north of Italy, Vittorio Veneto, near Treviso. On the ledge outside the window of my room there was a plant in a pot that the last tenant had left there. It was the summer I took that fragile life in my hands and watered it daily. The little plant grew slowly.

Came the first cold days of autumn and the double glazed windows were closed and sealed for the winter. The little plant was out there. Came the cold, 15 degrees below zero and snow.

Life ran smoothly between study, work and fun. I forgot my commitment with myself to take care of the little plant and only remembered it when I saw it out there through the closed window. It dried, the pot was naked except for a dry stick that punched through the earth.

I felt guilty when I looked at what had been a plant.

I had left it to die only by laziness.

Still I didn’t take the pot from the window sil, commanded by the same inertia that made me stop taking care of it.

Time passed, little by little the cold was being pushed by the sun of the pre-Alps, the snow began to melt. Outside the open fields began to cover up a bright green grass, all prissy like it was trimmed by a lawn mower.

One day, I woke up in the morning sun came dazzling through the window. I got up and went to peek outside. I saw the buildings in front and beyond the mountain tops. All very clean and bright, even with patches of snow here and there.

When I was to go back to the room my eyes passed the vase that I had used to seeing parched, with a dry stick skewered.

But this time there was news:

a leaf had emerged, a tiny lump of a small green knot that I had not seen before. Barely visible, but the bright green contrasted with both the dry land of the vase, it was impossible not to see under that bright sunshine.

I opened the window, grabbed the vase and unconsciously apologized, I remember like it was yesterday.

I felt forgiven for letting that plant die and decided not to let inertia take care of my options or the responsibilities that I chose to be mine.

During the following months I took care of it as a sick friend. After two weeks the leaf had multiplied and, a month later, the little vase was filled with intense blue little flowers, very tiny and very perfect.

God had coughed for me

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