Tucson Saguaro Cactus on Holiday

dead saguaro cactusIt is Labor Day weekend and all the smart fortunate people are out of town for a few days to be someplace cooler.

Most think they have escaped the heat and humidity of Monsoon Season and replaced it with fresh mountain air, cool night breezes and the burning of marshmallows over a campfire.

And they have. What they don’t know is that when most of the people are out of town the Saguaro cactus shed their skins and party down for the weekend.

Take this guy for instance. He’s stripped down to a point on public indecency and I had to strategically place this bush while taking the photo.

He is trying to lead the barrel cactus in a holiday WAVE. But the Barrel Cactus is a fruit head and doesn’t quite understand how just 2 cacti can make a “WAVE”, especially when only one of them has any arms.

In this picture we are looking at the back of the barrel cactus. When he turned around he had a very puzzled look on his face, but I didn’t get a picture of it.

saguaro cactusWhen the holiday weekend is over the saguaro put their clothes back on before the crowds people smelling like smoke come back into town. They look all respectable and stately just like they were when everyone left on Friday.

So you see saguaro like to have a holiday themselves, they just aren’t very expressive at times with a lot of people around.

Most of the time they just stand there together forming a giant WAVE across the desert waiting for the barrel cactus to join in the celebration. They never do, the ocotillo will wave in the wind but that’s about the only other cactus that comes close to joining the saguaro holiday celebrations.

Sometimes however, the saguaro take off their skins and don’t put them back on. When that happens and people come home and find just a skeleton usually one of two things happens.

  1. The staves are gathered polished, organized in an orderly manner and placed on the ceiling.
  2. The staves are polished and individually cut to length and used as walking sticks for hikers in the desert. It is said rattlesnakes will never strike at a saguaro stave because they have always been a part of their natural environment. I wonder if the real reason is the rattlesnakes recognize some of their old friends without their skins.

Have a safe and fun weekend. If you are in town look around you just might see a couple of saguaro out of their skins.


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