Cactus Flowers

As Spring drew to a close and Summer approached the cactus opened their banana, peach, and salmon tinted blossoms to the bees and beetles once again. As soon as Summer was underway, i knew the flowers would disappear and plump maroon fruits would sit in their place on the prickly pears that thrived in the dry, rocky environment each year. To someone with a need for order and routine country life had a certain allure. Every year the seasons brought the same changes. The same flowers blossomed. The same fruits appeared. The same seeds dried and fell. The same insects, toads, and birds conducted their life cycles and mating rituals at the same times. The same birds built nests by stealing chicken feathers and dryer lint. The same june bugs appeared at sundown, setting the dusk air abuzz with the hum of poorly governed insect flight. The same toads appeared to eat the june bugs. At a certain point when winter was fading into spring the chuck wills widows, crickets, toads, and flying song birds would return. The orb weavers didnt really appear until summer. The trees would change color with the arrival of autumn. I didnt need a calendar to tell me where i was in the seasons change. I saw it, heard it, and felt it all around me. The same as i did the phases of the moon. Only here, in this environment, with the constant observation of season changes and phases of the moon did i feel the passage of time arrest. I had no sense of a ticking clock here and i feared not aging. You fear aging when you are unfulfilled. You fear the bank when you are living a fulfilling life that you look forward to participating in with such joy that the passage of time merely represents bringing you closer to the next seasonal event to experience rather than time lost. It is a strange phenomena but in the city i am acutely aware of my age and feel a great pressure and anxiety to fit in as much as i can before i die. In the country i feel a need to look closely at every deer, cotton tail, snake, raccoon, orb weaver, armadillo, fox, and bird. I feel a need to observe every flower, every leaf, watch trees produce foliage, change colors, become dormant, and emerge again…. I feel a need to observe webbing being carefully constructed, agricultural termite tunnels being built, nests being recycled and upscaled for new offspring, toads snatching beetles and leaving ungodly sized poos for such a small animal, and song birds harassing the heck out of crows that stole eggs or chicks from their nests. I feel the need to observe weather, sunrises, sunsets, and temperature changes, dung beetles rolling poo away in perfectly round balls in a brilliant sort of team effort, dragonflies mating mid air as if a fighter jet was getting a mid-flight refueling without ever having to land to make contact. It is all beautiful and there is a masterful sort of equilibrium that exists here between all the animals, seasons, and processes. Here the passage of time is determined by sunrise and sunset, not paper and the hands of a clock. Here the passage of time is a privilege and something to experience, not a forward march towards death to the beating drum of fear and self doubt. If only it were possible to stay here forever. If i never had to leave this cycle to participate in the income and tax system of humans, i might know in my bones the feeling of contentment more often.

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