Advice From a Saguaro

I have a t-shirt that lists advice from a saguaro. I bet you didn’t know that those giants of the desert could talk. But if you find yourself next to one, in a no traffic, no humanity buzz zone, listen very carefully. There are centuries of wisdom that a saguaro can give you.

1. Stand tall. Now this would seem obvious except we need to remember that it takes mega years for a saguaro to get to 40 feet or more. And you may not know that a saguaro won’t even get an arm bud until it is 60 years of age or more. For decades the poor thing must be muttering, ‘I know I can, I know I can.’

2. Reach for the sky. So…what does the saguaro say to the ground-hugging Mexican poppy or to the fat and short barrel cactus? Oh, wait, ‘sky’ is relative. I get it. You don’t have to be as tall as the saguaro, just keep reaching to the best of your destiny.double rainbow

3. Be patient through the dry spells. Having lived through my first Arizona monsoon season, I learned that dry spells always end…just not when we expect it. It can be early or late, but it is usually late.

4. Conserve your resources. The saguaro expands during the wet season so it has reserves for the dry season. Looked at your checkbook recently?!

5. Think long term. Remember the first arm bud? All that growing leads to new things.

6. Wait for your time to bloom.The saguaro blooms once a year, then yields wonderful fruits that the Tohono O’Odham people gather with long poles. So you may think you have nothing to give, but in time you will.

7. Stay sharp! I recently learned that saguaros don’t fall over in storms because the spines deflect the wind. So… if we stay sharp, we are able to deflect destructive forces like gossip, low self-esteem, and donuts.

And my addition:

There was a saguaro thief who was killed by the very saguaro he was trying to smuggle out of the desert…it fell on him, really. It must have been like being pinned by a one ton porcupine. It turns out that saguaros have shallow but very wide roots, which wrap around boulders beneath the surface. Be careful about cutting someone’s roots…that’s not our job.



About Patti Albaugh

I grew up in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1965. I have a Bachelor's Degree from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. I am an Emeritus Professor at Otterbein University. In addition to writing creative nonfiction and fiction, I like bridge, genealogy, gardening, travel and Mah Jjong. I currently live in Tucson, Arizona, with my dog Tonto. I am the proud parent of children Justin and Amy and the proud grandmother (NANA) of granddaughters Katherine and Zoe.
This entry was posted in spirituality and prayer, Tucson and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Advice From a Saguaro

  1. Barbara Maines Berg says:

    Patti, Your insight and depth is truly amazing, what a wonderful world is yours!

  2. Lisa says:

    I love you. Reading your posts make me feel we were washing a piece of chocolate cake down with a glass of red wine. I am not a writer so I cannot critique the prose, but the advise from a saguaro just makes me smile. Lisa

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