Teeny-tiny Cactus Flower Report [Revised]

Very small cactus flower near Taos, NM

I killed a whole hour to see if these would open again…

Thunder and lightning cut short my four-mile hike yesterday. But on the way to where a loud crack of doom sounded directly overhead—and where I was became the turnaround—I stopped to admire some astounding tiny cactus flowers. You don’t see them here, because when I went back this morning to find them again, the blossoms were either closed or finished. Note my Zuni inlay ring for size!

I shot this at 11:15 this morning. You would think that was late (warm) enough for them to open, but maybe not. This is truly maddening, because the many-pointed magenta stars were just amazing. Flowers like these appear only under very specific conditions of temperature and humidity. I may never see them again. Today I also looked and looked, but nowhere could I find any other examples of this same miniscule cactus.

All the way out there, I was brooding again the way I do. The stimulus this time was the lady tourist I met on the trail fixing a flat tire on her mountain bike. Just like with the 70-something German woman I talked to the other day in the parking lot, it struck me that these people are only here in the summer, that they have homes to go to when they’re done. We have our little rented adobe (with a new toilet, yay!), but it just isn’t enough. It’s so easy to slip into “victim” mode in Taos, with its wretched rentals and pricey vacation home market. (Brood, brood…) Years ago my wife said that Taos was “a place to visit, not to live.” Of course, we were already here. Heh.

One needs to be on guard against negative expectations and self-fulfilling prophecies, however. As it is, I’ve slain so many dragons, I’ve lost count. We’re tough and healthy and have at least a few roots in the community. We’re looking for a house. Something might come up. The work is the main thing—if only things had always been this way! I feel good, though. Wary, but good.

Tomorrow I’ll take one more crack at capturing those flowers. Such a hard life, taking off any time I want to go walking in the wilderness. Breathing all that pure air. No one telling me what to do.

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John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. “Possibly the only place I can get away with this,” he says. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put it in a review of John’s first book, Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” John is the author of BUFFALO LIGHTS, TAOS SOUL, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, and THE HELEN CHRONICLES. He has been publishing online since 1996 (Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, FarrFeed) and blogs regularly here at JHFARR.COM. See also → John’s Twitter profile, Amazon Author Page, video channel at YouTube, and website photos at SmugMug. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page.  

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