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.

Expectation.

Celebration.

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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