Saturday, February 11, 2017

What We Can Learn From the Saguaro


Today is the day I return to reality. For the past two weeks it’s been a thousand-plus-mile tour through warm weather, sunny skies, and folks courteously listening to what I had to say … at least by those who didn’t know me all that well.

Zack Farley, a man of High Spirits from Patagonia, Arizona

So, what in the world possesses me to abandon sunny 80-degree Arizona weather for blizzard-wracked New York City? In search of that answer I’m open to all amateur psychological diagnoses.

I suspect that same sort of question is being asked by hordes of northern clime based baby boomers. Though I hear real estate prices in the sunbelt are not yet back to pre-crisis levels (as unreal as those were), I sense many are now being drawn to thoughts of living a warmer life amid the cacti, coastlines, and chimera of the south and west—if only as part of mobile home sunshine seeking caravans bivouacking in RV (recreational vehicle) parks. 

For those of advancing years drawn to Arizona, perhaps it’s a subliminal pilgrimage to the land of the Saguaro cactus, the awe-inspiring symbol of the state of Arizona and largest cactus in North America.

The Saguaro grows only in the Sonoran Desert, can attain a height of 40 feet and live to 200 years old. But its most fascinating trait—at least to me—is that its celebrated arms do not on average first begin to sprout until the Saguaro is 70-years-old (some start to grow their first arm at 50, others not until 100) and the Saguaro is only considered an adult at 125!

I’m sure Annamaria has an observation on that phenomenon.

The biggest threat to the existence of this unique flora is poachers harvesting them for sale as expensive lawn ornaments.  Stan and Michael are well familiar with the even more catastrophic effects of black marketers on African fauna.

But perhaps the trait most reminiscent to me of one that far too many journeying out here risk sharing with the impressive Saguaro is this: Saguaros can shrink or swell in girth by 20-25% over the course of a year.

Yep, the food (and drink) out here’s that good.

Alas, it’s time to wave bye-bye to the Saguaro, saddle up and mosey on back east.  But I shall be bringing my Valentine (who took all the photos) back with me. Okay, dragging her with me.

Which reminds me to say to all of you out there, but especially Barbara, Karen, Jennifer, Gavi, Rachel, Jon, Terry and Azi, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY.



  1. Ah, ain't that sweet: a prickly old pear like you still remembers Valentine's Day.

    (My best wishes to you both! :-)

    1. Umm... I hope you won't mind if I apply my own choice of definition to your VD acronym.

  2. Well, my brother, Everett beat me to the prickly comment. But I still see that you have much in common with this denizen of Arizona – tall, somewhat ornamental if you go in for that sort of thing,. The best part of this for me is that sometime in the next 25 or 30 years you might actually reach maturity. I hope I'm around to see it. Love to you and your sweetheart on Valentine's Day.

    1. Maturity is as maturity does.

      So, I guess you're right. :)

      Much love, sis.

  3. I think Annamaria has nailed it so to speak! What more is there to be said?

  4. That last pic of the two saguaro, Jeff (the next to the last shot of the blog). Is the one on the left the female of the species? Just a wild guess...

  5. Beautiful saguaro. Arizona is full of fantastic flora.

    But, I'll take New York City with its blizzards alternating with 60-degree weather. Why not when I can get meals and groceries delivered at midnight. When the library is two blocks away. A cab is down the block and everything is in walking distance, including capuccino and biscotti.