one night stand

Just to be clear, I am referring to my cactus flower. My wonderful amazing cactus flower.

One night it bloomed, the next night it folded back into itself as if in rewind mode, swallowing the bright white bloom back into the night. Perhaps it was just making way for the  moon, which opened to fullness the following night,

the unseen sun leaping from his lover’s face to light up a cloud-quilted sky.

Another one night stand, for the next night, the moon herself was swallowed in turn by the ocean bred clouds to shroud this desert coast in heavy hanging layers of fog

that could bear themselves no longer

and unburdened themselves

into the rare sound of rain

on our roof.

seven floors above the howling streets. night. lima. ambulences and faulty alarms with a few

Echoes of Seattle drowning out the supposed-to-be summer.




advancing, advancing, advancing…

current focus:
using beta reader feedback for final revisions of Desert Voices, my novel of sixth century Nasca – wherein an unexpected heroine helps her people confront the environmental disasters that fan the flames of cultural and spiritual crisis.
also thinking about potential title changes…
now that the cactus has bloomed, it seems to call for a new image
…oh yes, the cactus, too, has its voice
a modern reproduction of linewalking
and those shapes etched across the desert?
great paths for ritual walkings … as reproduced here
several years ago by the students of Jose Lancho Rojas
one of Nascas’ best known historians

when the cactus blooms

So, about the time my Nasca novel takes its tentative steps out into the world, a cactus in my roof sprouts a small bud that gets hairier by the day. Not like a new arm about to sprout, but a sign that a flower is in the making.

That little round bud hinted at the promise of a bloom for a few weeks, then suddenly began to grow. And grow. More than an inch a day for a week. Amazing to watch. As if the entire cactus were shooting its life force into the unlikely looking sprout that launched itself outward.

cactus bloom
a cactus about to bloom
Cactus in bloom

It unfolded last night into an explosion of white, and by tonight, it had retreated back into the outstretched arm, folded back into itself and disappeared.

Sometimes things feel laden with meaning.



The awe at nature’s art.

San Pedro Cactus flower
a one day show

I first starting growing this variety of cactus when I realized it was such an ubiquitous part of Nasca culture. I wanted to surround myself with things that would keep me connected to the time and place I was writing about. I googled the cactus, learned what I could, and even found a video of one of its glorious flowers unfolding. A night bloom destined to last no more than a day or two. I visited literal cactus forests in the desert and saw some in bloom, but dreamed of one day witnessing one unfold from close up. I even wrote such a scene into the book.

Six years later, the book is finished, and the cactus burst into bloom.

It’s hard not to feel that there is somehow a connection.

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