Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saguaro...and Other Things

I’m in a reflective mood...will you join me?

It was brought on by a beautiful photo of a saguaro cactus, reminding me of a trip to Arizona a few years ago. You know the ones I’m talking about – those tall cacti the cowboys pass in all those good, old western movies. They’re the lonely ones that look like signposts: go here, no there. And they’re often accompanied by that haunting music…whang, whang,…wrangle-whang…

I had never given them much thought, personally, until this particular trip, when we found out that if there’s one thing folks in the West are proud of, it’s their cacti.

Did you know that it takes at least seventy-five years of growth before a saguaro cactus even begins to grow its ‘arms’? So the ones you see that have big, tall appendages are ancient! (Five arms or more means it’s probably over two hundred years old.) And protected. You face stiff penalties if you’re caught messing with any saguaro, at least in Arizona.

Then, I remember when I worked for the phone company as an installer. I never knew where I would end up. My job often took me to the farthest reaches of the county, and to some of the oldest homes.

Once, I was shocked to install a brand, new, first-time phone line for an eighty-year-old woman. Her family was ‘updating’ her house. They were also putting vinyl siding on the old homeplace and installing indoor, running water!

By then, I was familiar with the surprises that I ran across in my job and I kept a camera handy. When I asked if I might take pictures, she generously allowed me to photograph her outhouse and windlass-type well. I couldn’t imagine a house in that day and age without the modern conveniences we take for granted.

I ran across lots of crazy things as an installer. On another day, I pulled up to a job-site and happened to look across the gravel road from the address, where there was a tall, dirt embankment. Splitting the embankment in half was the back of a yellow school bus. It was completely buried in the ground…all you could see was the back end with the exit doors. These inventive folks had created their own take on a storm shelter. That one caused me to do a double-take, I promise.

There are plenty of places I go, even now, where I am overwhelmed by the historic nature of buildings, places and things. It makes me glad we have Historical Societies that are dedicated to helping find out the stories behind these varied things and who then take the time and energy to try to preserve them just as they were.

But sometimes it strikes me as sad that I can get so easily enraptured about a building or an unusual artifact, and then can walk right past a human being that has an important history of his own.

It seems as the world gets busier, we have less time for each other. That’s a sad thing, don’t you think? Everyone has a story to tell. I’m sorry I don’t slow down more often to hear those stories.

Like the saguaro cactus, you can’t tell just by looking that there’s something magical there. You have to do a little investigating.

Hi, my name is robyn. Glad to meet you.      

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know they lived that long. Great post.