The Noble Saguaro and Me Out West

September 12th, 2011 · No Comments

by Jane St. Clair

When I first moved out West, it was so hot and dry that I thought they needed a few good shade trees. You know, “the under the spreading chestnut tree where the Village Smithy stands-kind-of tree,” and  the “I think that I shall never see a poem as-lovely-as-a-tree” kind of tree.

Instead they had the saguaro, which did not even look like a tree to me. They certainly don’t do much in the shade department.


After a while, I began to respect them, even though I didn’t like them.

candleYou have to respect them because they are so heavy they can crush a car, and because they live in the hot desert without water. You have to respect saguaros because it takes so long to get one. They start out as babies as big as your thumb, and it takes about 100 years to get one arm, and more to get a bunch of arms.

Jane St Clair candlestick saguaro

Some people think they look like candlestick holders.

They are home to birds and all kinds of bugs and little wildlife things.They have dorky flowers that turn into little fruits. The natives know how to make food out of that. People here decorate them at Christmas,

dorky saguaro flowers by Jane St Clair

Saguaro Bones by Jane St Clair
And use their bones for fencing.

After a while, saguaros looked tall and stately to me. Dignified. Vertical.  And even noble.

Saguaros can look human, especially if you’ve been cowboying alone in the desert too long.

Hello, friendly Cactus Person.

And I liked the way they looked in different kinds of skies,

 Moon over Saguaro by Jane St Clair

(even the skies I make up).

Saguaro in crazy skies Jane St Clair

After a while, that could mean only one thing.
Desert Home to Saguaro Jane St Clair

The desert had become home.

Tags: Jane St. Clair · nature essay · Tucson · Tucson Sonoran Desert · Tucson Tourism · Tucson Tourist Events