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.
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.