Did You Know...
Did You Know…
That a Saguaro is a tall, prickly, thin cactus with long arms that only grows in the Sonoran Desert?
Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona is named for the haunting plants that dominate the landscape. These cacti grow very slowly, only reaching about 1.5 inches during its first 8 years of life. The arms don’t even begin to grow until the plant is around 65 years old.
Around mid-April, a tiny white Saguaro flower bud begins to appear on the arms. They open into large white flowers from April until June. Each flower opens in the middle of the night and closes in the middle of the day. After nectar feeding bats, birds, and insects pollinate the flower, it transforms into a bright red fruit with black seeds that feeds much of the desert wildlife.
The tribal name of the Native Americans of south central Arizona, is Tohono O’odham. This translates into “The Desert People.” The Tohono O’odham thought of themselves as part of the desert and believe the desert is made up of their long ago relatives. They believed that to harm the desert was to harm their relatives.
The Tohono O’odham often refer to Saguaros as “O’odham” or “people.” In a Welcome Center movie, a Native American said, “If you look at the saguaro long enough, you will see people.” Much of the culture of the Tohono O’odham revolved around the Saguaro and the Saguaro was part of many of their creation stories. For them, the Saguaro was another form of humans.
As I stood feeling the heat of the desert bearing down on me and staring at the Saguaro Cactus that stretched for miles across the colorful green, red, and yellow plains, I felt the mystery of the desert. As I stared and squinted my eyes, I didn’t see people--I saw crosses. As I breathed in the dry heat and smelled the sweet wild smells of the desert, I didn’t feel a part of the desert, I felt a part of heaven. If the earth is this beautiful, heaven is going to be spectacular.
Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.
To see pictures of Saguaro National Park, go to the Photo Gallery and click on Arizona – Saguaro National Park.