Charting Passings of 100 Years

Lasted through the weight of the pandemic, succumbed to a flash flood in 2021.

A week ago, the saguaro cactus near where I live fell down. In my neighborhood park, this cactus occupied a strange, archaic in-between when I first discovered it.

I attached a myriad of meanings to this relic. This cactus became a marker of my journey — an artifact still standing in its place, despite the passing of one-hundred years. I found beauty in this relic. I found solace in its present orientation in the world, even as it leaned forward, rather like the picture of the Tower of Pisa. In its rather mechanical nature, it stood exposed, skin peeled back to reveal nature’s bones. I admired its pursuit to remain through August, September, October and until the end of July of 2021 when it was displaced in a flash flood.

I couldn’t help wonder why the elemental force of the flash floods brought an end to this cacti’s journey of one-hundred years (potentially more), but I think that’s beside the point.

I’ve realized the power of foundations within nature and as evident within my own life. Sooner or later, this artifact of nature was meant to fall, to decompose — all in the name of eventually being reborn.

So, today, as I walked past this ancient composition of nature, I couldn’t help but smile, all in the name of remembering what Walt Whitman once said, “Has anyone supposed it lucky to be born? / I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it” (Leaves of Grass, Norton Critical Edition, p. 666).

I plant myself for a new arrival as I honor the one-hundred years, which came before me. I give gratitude to the lives of my ancestors and for the foundations, which once served them. Lastly, I pray the cactus I spied months and months ago is given a proper burial where she belongs, finally at home to be reborn once again.

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