Friday, May 5, 2017

Living Like a Saguaro

While on my first visit to Arizona, the friend who picked me up commented that we were driving through a saguaro forest. I'd never heard that term. When considering cacti, even ones as large as the saguaro, the term forest was an alien concept. So I asked her to pull over somewhere so I could take a picture. The do indeed grow in groupings akin to a forest of trees. The differences I noticed made me think about how we humans live together.

Look at how they form community: close, yet not. Much like the way we live. If we have choice, we move into neighborhoods because of their reputation for safety or friendliness. Yet we remain separate. We get to​ know our neighbors, yes, but we keep our prickly selves a bit apart, slightly distant.

The saguaros are also tall and erect. If I were to anthropomorphize them, I'd say they look proud. Which is also a trait we exhibit in community. Sometimes, that's an important stance to take. We show we can make it, we have a strong sense of ourselves, we are productive members of society. On the other hand, there are times when that pride can separate us, keep us from speaking our truth, telling of our need of others.

Also like the saguaro, we embrace the conditions around us and offer shelter for those who peck their way into our core. With no defense to keep them out, we take them on and protect them. We offer the deepest part of ourselves, no matter the cost to us. We share much in common with these stately, sometimes comical cacti.

What keeps you apart from others? What keeps you rooted in community? How does your prickly self show up? How do you act when it does? What do you do to change it? Or do you embrace it and remain apart? Who's made their way into your heart, you life, despite your prickly effort to keep them out?

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