Bren brought home one of the ugliest cacti I have ever seen a few months ago. It had clearly been mistreated, which is saying a lot for a cactus, the cockroach of the plant world in terms of durability. The soil was dry, the stalks were cracked and almost grey, there was this curious bit of fluff on top of it… it was just crying out for a little love. Unfortunately for this cactus, I knew that even with a little love, it would probably look only slightly less ugly than it looked when Bren heaved it up the stairs. I rolled my eyes, sighed in my smug little know-it-all way and gave Bren a withering look.
But Bren loves an underdog. I do too, but usually when the underdog looks like Jake Gyllenhaal on a bad day or something. This thing was UGLY, and was destined for only more ugliness, or so I thought. I mean, this is what the bottom of it looks like:
So I tolerated it, watered it without looking at it, and every now and then, when I felt particularly charitable, I whispered a few kind words at it (AFTER I’d talked to the other, prettier plants of course).
My, did that ugly cactus put me to shame! I went out on the porch today and nearly fell over – I was stunned by the beauty of the two e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s white flowers that had bashed their way out of the top of the cactus! Each flower is as big as my hand, and they are so triumphant! Proud, impossibly white and smooth, in sharp contrast to the prickly and for some reason hairy green arms that hold them up… there is something so feminine about them, as if the cactus suddenly sprouted two buxom breasts and decided to bare them in the breeze that sweeps across our porch. I was so intoxicated by them that I took about 30 pictures of them! Here’s the best of the lot for you. Long live the ugly duckling! I’ve learned my lesson!