Friday, March 4, 2011


Having been born and raised in northern Wisconsin, I pretty much expect to see pine trees when I look outside any windows. White pine, jack pine, fir trees, you name it and I have that conifer in my back yard. Cactus, on the other hand, now that is a breed I am not accustomed to.

When we drove to Arizona, in March 2003, I just never imagined I would see so many cacti. And how big they get. The Saguaro grow to an amazing height, and their weight – I can’t remember what my ex-father-in-law told us, but it was in the tons.

Our first full day of vacation at their house, my kids’ grandparents drove us all over Apache Junction and into the Superstitious Mountains, and everywhere we looked there were Saguaro cacti. Cacti were even growing on the hillside behind their house. Nick, Val and I took a walk one day up that hill, the kids charging through the brush like kids will do.

I stepped more cautiously. I didn’t know if I was more wary of the prickly vegetation or the prospect of meeting some slithering fauna. By then I was missing my own safe backyard of pine trees and red squirrels.

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