Dr Pande noticed that an inordinate amount of Americans suffer from allergies. He wondered why.
In India, he said, people do not have allergies.
He posited an 'exposure theory' in our brief couple of minutes together while he checked my heart (still tickin) and felt my ankles for swelling (demure, dainty, darling ankles).
In India, he said people don't ride around in air-conditioned cars or live in air-conditioned homes.
They are plein air all the time. Exposed to the elements. And thus they develop an immunity-by-osmosis to allergens - from trees, flowers, plants, weeds, you name it - and do not develop our allergies.
You is smart, I thot. 'You should write this up in an article.'
I didn't wanna embarrass him by saying he could be another Atul Gawande.
And, in 2006, when I was hanging around w/ my Indian friend, Mr Zachariah, we went strolling at Pennypack Park and I wrote this poem:
TO EVERY SEASON THERE COMES GOLDENROD
Much maligned beauty
your dusty fingers so like our own
where birds vanish
as does the sun
Accompany us, Goldenrod,
down the aisle
into the emptiness
one last feast for the honeybee
my color-craving eyes
Once we thought you mean
thought it was you
who caused the twitch and sneeze,
but no, it was Ragweed who raged
like nettles in our nostrils
a lass to whom
all must bend,
all must show their fair form
it’s your time to shine
across meadows deep
to remind us summer’s spent
to remind us soon we’ll be alone
with the sparrows
and the hidden voice of the wren
calling from unseen places.