Monday, June 22, 2020

Our Country's Cactus

Our Country’s Cactus

Tucked away on the side of my house are some small cactus plants. They are normally fairly unobtrusive but when they put out their flowers, they are hard to ignore. The buds are big and the flowers are exuberant. I look forward to seeing them each summer.

There are things to consider, however. A cactus plant has spines.  Spines can be stiff, hard,  or soft. They may be long or short. The spines on my cactus are so thin they can be ignored when I weed around the flowers. But they can’t be ignored for long. They push in under the skin and are uncomfortable reminders of not being careful in the garden. They cause sharp hints of pain until they are removed.

This duality of beauty and pain is a reminder to me of what is going on nowadays. Underneath the beauty of our country lie the spines that effect so many of us. The pain caused by conquering, slavery, exclusion, and racism that has resurfaced in recent times all over America has been in us from the beginning but we haven’t been addressing the causes – until now.

I hope that we are finally becoming able to appreciate our incredible diversity, to value the beauty that all people bring and to take out the spines that discrimination has implanted in our country’s body. Only then will we be able to truly appreciate our amazing American garden.

My cactus – the Eastern Prickly Pear:


  1. So true. We are like onions, with so many layers that need to be uncovered.....some layers not as lovely as some others. Let's discard those and focus on the beauty of the others.

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