September 24, 2007

Maguey Magnificus

magueyAbout seven years ago when I used to jog by Snake Creek, I saw this plant that had spilled its orphaned seeds all over the banks of the canal. I picked up three of the seeds and soon after I moved from Fulford-By-The Sea, I stuck them in the furrowed garden of my new home in Highland Oaks. I didn't know the name--didn't care--I just loved the shape of the plant.

Now for the past two weeks, the plant, despite my inattention, has sprouted this giant stalk (I told Pam Mordecai I know how "Jack and the Bean Stalk" got started) and it's been growing and growing, and growing…

At first, I didn't know what to make of the plant because I didn't know its name. Then, a few days ago my wife, Nadia, said to me, "I asked around and I've found out the name! In Mexico, they call it maguey."

Of course, I began my research and found a whole mythology surrounding maguey. Among other things, maguey is associated with Mayahuel (also Mayahual, or Mayouel), Mayatl, Teteo-inan, Virgin of Guadalupe, Quetzalcoatl, and Tepozteco.

I've been so busy with school work and there is so much happening around me that I haven't had time to process all the information, or to ignore the maguey that's almost been saying to me, "Slow down, Geoff," and "Look at me! I'm spectacular!" She says it with a Spanish accent. So, I have slowed down and what I've learned so far has kept me wondering about the associations:

I found the seeds at Snake Creek.

Tepozteco, the consort of Mayahuel, is a Trickster similar to Anansi.

The flowering stalk of the maguey, which can grow up to 25 feet, emerges from the heart.

The maguey is following it's own timetable and is doing what it needs to do without my assistance or worrying about it.

Mezcal, tequila, and other useful products can be made from the sap, leaves, and stalk. It's a totally consumable plant. Bio-fuel of the future?

The sheer abundance/opulence of life-of giving freely and unreservedly.

Everything about the maguey has been, like love, a perfect, unbidden gift.

I've started to track her growth and I'm definitely going to take pictures of the flowers when they bloom--which means the maguey will also die. In this lifetime, she has a lot to teach me.

Photos of Maguey Magnificus in Miami


FSJL said...

You could have got its relative, henequén, known in Jamaica as sisal.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Fragano, try getting those and other seeds through customs.

Stephen A. Bess said...

That is an interesting looking plant. Beautiful. The stalk does appear to be reaching for the clouds. :) Hello brother Geoffrey!

Geoffrey Philp said...

This whole process has been fascinating and it does see to reach into the clouds.

Good to hear from you.


Unknown said...

Beautiful plant. Wish I could get my hands on some of those seeds.