Thursday, September 26, 2013


We have this weird cactus. We've had it for over a year. Last summer it grew the strangest buds. They looked like thistle-tufts that were about to go to seed. Like grey cotton balls after they visit their hairstylists gave them all some sort of mini mohawks. Like tiny Truffula trees without their trunks. (Dr. Seuss would have loved this cactus.) Sadly, they also reminded me of creepy baby mice. 

And then it got even weirder.

They blossomed. This long arm reached out from that grey fuzz on that cactus and then a day or two later it bloomed this white lily type flower. It looked like paper origami, petals cut very carefully. The smell? Like the softest whisper of the most alluring perfume. I’m not sure I've smelled much better than that smell.

After a day or two: gone.

Cut to over a year later. We forgot about this cactus after its odd blooms. Then one day we noticed it in another room. My wife suggested we throw it out. It was no longer round and full. It had shrunken and wrinkled a bit. I’m the one in the family who keeps the plants alive (or revives them after neglect) so I protested and by protested I mean I gave it approximately a measly ¼ cup of water and put it on my desk.

And then a few weeks ago it began to grow. Seriously grow. Three or four centimeters at least so far. And it’s changing shape, no longer round and squat but taller and thinner, a green triangle. I’m kind of jealous in fact. And one more thing: it’s covered it tiny tufts.

Two things about our freaky little cactus:
1. What the crap is this thing?!
2. Don't ever give up. Things do change.

(I have been afraid to believe #2 for a long long time now. But I think, mostly, some days, here and there, even though I am probably wrong, I'm starting to believe again. I hope the same for you if you need the same hope, I do.)


Vinny C said...

If there's anything that can teach us about survival, it's a house plant. I too am the designated Keeper of the Plants on our home and often have to rescue them neglect. No matter what (as long as they're not totally dried out) they always spring back to life with just a little water and care.

Anonymous said...

I am finally becoming responsible with plants. I keep them alive, but often in a mutated state. I've got an amaryllis plant I received in 2007 or so at Christmas. It bloomed beautifully and then stopped for three years and then one year, boom, it blossomed again. I think this might be the year the magic happens again! Not sure what your troubles have been but I really hope this is your year, too.

Laoch of Chicago said...

I always liked cacti because they were the one plant that I could make grow.

Paul McCormick said...

That sounds awesome. Almost makes me want a cactus.

My wife owned a vine that her grandma gave her and said it literally could not die. For our first two years of marriage we tested it, and sure enough, it would seem dead, we'd water it, and bam, it would live again. I think we did finally kill it, but that just goes to show how much we suck at taking care of plants.

Antares Cryptos said...


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