Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Silent Sentinels of Strength

{i am reprinting this with a few changes and it seems somehow appropriate to be my first blog post. i wrote it almost 2 years ago and it seems important now as the anniversary of my Dad's death from the complications of cancer is upon me.}

The landscape stretches out before me, rugged, dry and desolate, an endless sea painted in the worn and rustic palette of washed out sage greens, warm reds and soft sand. The timeworn and stark beauty of the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico renew me. I have never looked upon this land with anything except absolute awe and respect mixed with a sense of wonder at it's tenacity and spirit. The desert embodies not loneliness to me, but a sense of solitude and stately pride in it's wondrous achievement of renewal in the face of what has always seemed to me like harsh adversity.And standing watch over all of this is the regal and serene Saguaro cactus.

I never thought I would find comfort in the thoughts, meditations or sight of a cactus, but that is how I felt yesterday when I saw the first Saguaro ceremoniously rising up from the parched desert dunes, solemn and noble. A deliberate and silent sentinel of strength. A watcher and a record keeper of life in this seemingly barren land, as if it's outstretched arms held all the secrets in the world to survival in this arid wilderness of vivid light, low scrub brush and endless sand. And then I saw another and another and one more, until there were seeming hundreds, marching off into the shimmering desert horizon line of blinding sun and diluted blue sky miles and miles away.

A resilient and stalwart Survivor, the Saguaro endures an endless array of hardships with attentive dignity and a solitary majesty unsurpassed in the desert landscape. From extreme temperature changes on a daily basis, a pittance in water rations per year and a constant home to burrowing creatures of wing and antennae, the Saguaro thrives and grows, for many many decades, sometimes even reaching the ripe old age of 180 years and a height of 45 feet or so. The flowers of this glorious desert guardian bloom at night for safeties sake, and contain thousands of seeds in order to ensure survival in this uncompromising environment.

"That's US", I thought with a sudden smile as I gazed upon a veritable army of wondrous and courageous giants. "Those gallant and gracious cacti, each one, is symbolic of all the people who have had cancer or known and loved someone who has."

We are quiet and vigorous wellsprings of stability, determination and hope in the hard, relentless and seemingly endless desert that is cancer. We bloom and give forth seeds of light, energy and faith in the darkest hours of people's lives as they cope with this disease. We are a comfort and a secure home to those who have a family member or friend who are fighting this battle. We are the record keepers and long memories of those who have left the desert on a different and infinitely more beautiful journey.
In this unflinching, barren and arduous landscape no-one with cancer ever needs to be alone. All they need to do is walk awhile and they will eventually see one of us, rising tall, steady and sure above the desert floor, silent sentinels of strength.

I love all of you......


{the gorgeous flowering saquaro photo is from  http://www.etsy.com/shop/fastwinn haven't figured out how to link the picture to the page yet!}

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