Wonder 44


I woke early. I love the predawn hours. A mockingbird sings from the pine at the edge of the meadow, and my thoughts feel as clear as the tones of his song.

This morning, I decided to finally write my acceptance speech for the Edgar Evans Award. Pay it forward, right? Then it doesn’t feel so awkward to accept.


I had so many people I wanted to nominate. I finally settled on Rose Hatcher, a widow who moved through grief by adopting a kitten that needed a home. She’s been a big inspiration for Tia Berry and me. It’s hard to think of grief as being part of my life–death is still something very abstract to me. But I’ve lost meus avós and Pai‘s roommate/whatever Marcus Fletch. Tia Berry’s getting older. So’s Pai. And, in my career as a doctor, I’m sure I’m going to have plenty of experiences with mortality, even though, right now, I still feel that death can’t touch us. We’re immortal, every one.

Nonetheless, nominating Rose serves as a reminder to me: when grief comes, you can move through it. And you can move through it with kindness.


I felt like a huge responsibility had been lifted when I submitted my acceptance and nomination. Oh, man. I hope I didn’t go overboard. Sometimes, I’ve noticed, when I express myself genuinely, other people look at me like I’m a nut.

Oh, well. I guess I am a bit of a nut! At least, I’m a cracked, happy nut!


My boss greeted me with good news when I arrived at the clinic.

“The Medical Board is impressed,” he said. “Full speed ahead.”

I checked the email they’d sent us. We not only had clearance to administer the remedy to adults but also to children. And they had sponsored a research grant for the project.


The news came just in time for my first client of the day. Oscar complained of sore throat and chills.

I explained that we had just the thing for him, and that it used mushroom power.

“Mushroom power?” he said. “Like toadstools?”

“Not toadstools. These are edible mushrooms. The real power comes from the mycelium, which is the thready network of roots below the soil surface.”



I gave him a small dose. We still haven’t figured out the best dosages, for children or adults, but I remember how much I took when I was little kid. Three fingers full.

“I wanna go play!” Oscar said when I went back to check on him an hour later.

“All well?”



The day passed quickly. Not every client needed the remedy, but those who did reported that their symptoms improved within an hour.

“What’s in this stuff?” asked my last client.

“Mushroom compounds,” I said.

“Ick,” she replied.

“But it works, right?”

She couldn’t argue with that.


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