Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Ugly Duckling

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!



Kir said...

WOW! So pretty! Congrats on nurturing it back to life and being rewarded with beautiful flowers. I am bringing our first real houseplant home's to hoping I don't kill it!

aartilla the fun said...

i know right?
good luck with the plant. they always need more water than i think they will. not sure what that says about me.



keven said...

never judge a book by its cacti...wait what?

cheryl said...

I think yours is a cactus that blooms once a year and the flowers stay open just 24 hours...
I forget what it's called. Wow, what a blessing!

Patte said...

Stunning! Reminds me of how God brings the beauty of holiness out of ugly duckling sinners like us. All to praise Him & bring Him honor & draw others to Him for the same re-birth & adorning in Christ.

Loved the photo from the wedding too. Bren looked so handsome. I wanted to see YOU in your pretty dress too. Did anyone at the wedding take one of the two of you?

sarah said...

I'm loving the cactus pic. I miss cacti. At first I looked and thought it was an organ pipe cactus, but now I know it's the genus Echinocereus but I don't know the species. I used to have the exact same cactus and it was also an ugly duckling. It's funny how something so simple as nursing a cactus and letting it grow in a healthy environment can be simultaneously encouraging and metaphorical (is that even a word?)
I love your hair. It looks so cute in every pic.
I would also like to echo Patte's sentiment that Bren should have taken a pic of you in your pretty dress. Tell him I said, "When the wife's in a pretty dress, ALWAYS take a pic."
Love Sarah
ps-listening to the darjeeling ltd soundtrack. it's really good, mostly Indian music. have you seen the movie?

aartilla the fun said...

sarah --- i love your nice long comments. do you ever get to read my responses i wonder?

it is nice to know the genus at least! whee! we came back from chicago and the flowers are dead dead dead so i think that cheryl was right about it only blooming that one day. i am so grateful i went back to the porch that day or else i would have missed them in their ripened bliss!

i have not listened to the soundtrack nor seen the movie yet! ugh! i can't wait though. although i must admit being a bit miffed at the potential for india to be exploited as this quirky-spiritual-third eye BS background to the story. i know. snobby i am.


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