God and cacti

This is maybe a little about plants and a little about philosophy.  A wonderful quote about God and cacti.  A little thought about blooming through adversity.

There’s a message here somewhere.

micro and macro

One day they just decide to bloom

I was to do a program on succulents.  I had the plants to show but I needed an intro.

I hadn’t come up with anything special and so, in a manner which I have found helpful before, I pushed the mental project to the back of my mind and picked up a book.

The book was titled “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay

The setting is South Africa during the early days of World War Two and

is written with the viewpoint of a precocious child

The passage that I opened the book to seemed worth sharing.  The child related the conversation between his mother and his new friend who was a German music professor and a world renowned expert on cacti and succulents.  I paid close attention because I have quite an interest in cacti myself.

The mother asked the old man about his belief in God

 The old man replied:

God and I have no quarrels, madame.  The Almighty conceived the cactus plant.  If God would choose a plant to represent him, I think he would choose of all plants the cactus.  The cactus has all the blessings he tried, but mostly failed, to give to man.  Let me tell you how.  It has humility, but it is not submissive.  It grows where no other plant will grow.  It does not complain when the sun bakes it back or the wind tears it from the cliff or drowns it in the dry sand of the desert or when it is thirsty.  When the rains come it stores water for the hard times to come.  In good times and in bad it will still flower.  It protects itself against danger, but it harms no other plant.  It adapts perfectly to almost any environment.  It has patience and enjoys solitude.  In Mexico there is a cactus that flowers only once every hundred years and at night.  This is saintliness of an extraordinary kind, would you not agree?  The cactus has properties that heal the wounds of men and from it come potions that can make man touch the face of God or stare into the mouth of hell.  It is the plant of patience and solitude, love and madness, ugliness and beauty, toughness and gentleness.  Of all plants, surely God made the cactus to his own liking.  It has my enduring respect and is my passion.”  He paused and pointed to the small plant in the jam tin which looked all the world like bunny ears.  “Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, such a little lady.  Two years I search to find her, now she grows happily in my cactus garden where her big ears listen to all the gossip.”

I love growing all kinds of different cacti.  They are easy and pleasing.  Then, every now and then they will put up a flower that will last about a day. 

That’s sort of what I do in my life.  I struggle and survive, I work at my particular art form and think, and then one day I get to bloom.  Pretty cool?

Thank you for allowing me to share Bryce Courtenay’s words

johntheplantman

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ruth Shaw
    Nov 13, 2009 @ 20:30:04

    Good Friday morning John Paul, Good reading! It was good to read about cactus. I have a cactus plant on my coffee table in the middle of the room. The few other plants i have require sunshine, so are on a table near a window.

    Reply

  2. dekie
    Nov 15, 2009 @ 05:00:59

    How wonderful!

    Reply

  3. dekie
    Nov 15, 2009 @ 05:01:46

    How wonderful! And Dr. Gwen Perkins says, “I’ll never look at a cactus the same way again.”

    Reply

  4. Jane Schulz
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 16:31:50

    John, I love this analogy of the cactus to humans. I think it also applies to orchids, in particular to one I left out in the sun. Poor thing burned black; I cut it back and now it looks pitiful but I cannot throw it out. It is slowly recovering from my negligence and I know that one day it will bloom again.If it does, there’s hope for all of us!

    The mingling of your skills as a gardener and your up-beat philosophy is charming

    Reply

  5. Palevenelutle
    Dec 12, 2009 @ 23:19:47

    Great article, great looking blog, added it to my favs.

    Reply

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