I was hiking and came upon this guy. A thought floats through my head, that’s a very happy cactus. Immediately I interrogate this thought. By happy, I mean healthy? By healthy I mean unblemished? By unblemished I mean..? What do I mean?
Aren’t cacti especially adept at weathering drought? Isn’t their whole claim to evolutionary fame their ability to withstand hardship, to endure in the face of incredible scarcity? This cactus hasn’t done any of that. He looks well watered if you ask me. That’s some bright green sheen with nary a needle to mar his vanity inducing surface. Can he really be happy? What has he survived? What does he have to be so proud of except for something he is one hundred percent sure to lose? His “good” looks.
That sets me to pondering all the cactus up here that don’t inspire the thought happy. I wonder if they are in fact quite happy. There are some big ass bunches of cacti just taking over. They are clearly doing well for themselves. Some pads are scarred with dead skin that looks almost charred but new pads thrive from this base. They seem to have an indomitable spirit, a what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger kind of vibe. Are they happy? What is happy?
I want to be like these guys: tough, leathery, protected, in community, supporting, hearty, interesting, unique. Thank you to all my cactus friends, real and metaphorical. Let’s be needles out together.