Photograph of trees with snow on branches and white sky, dark greys and browns and light greys and white.

Rebellious plants 

My mother-in-law liked rebellious plants, those that are not satisfied with growing where they are told and come out through the cracks in the asphalt, or between the bricks in the walls.

Perhaps that is why she had the habit of planting huge willows very close to the houses where she lived. She didn’t care if they were a danger to the structure of the building. To each house she bought she attached a tree, leaving a trail of houses and trees perilously close together.

In the struggle for the space between plants and urban structures, she was clearly on the side of the plants. She went with the winners, because we cannot live without plants, but they would probably be much better off without us.

We totally depend on plants, and yet we cannot even aspire to a relationship of mutual collaboration like the one they have with fungi. Mushrooms don’t need us either.

It’s a little humiliating to the human ego to think that a mushroom is more independent and better connected in the ecosystem than we are. Perhaps that is why we insist so much on dominating, because deep down we are aware of our vulnerability and it scares us.

I really like grilled mushrooms with garlic and parsley, especially the way they grilled them many years ago in a bar on the elephant trail in Logroño. At that time I was not aware that I was eating the flower of an intricate underground communication system without which we would live much worse. Now I know.

Next time you eat mushrooms, say thank you.