The Wisdom and Resilience of the Cactus

Illustration of a Beaver Tail desert cactus with a fuchsia bloom. Illustrated by Alesha Sevy Kelley

The Wisdom and Resilience of the Cactus

The date is November 4th, 2020. The people of the United States and the world await the counting of millions of ballots in the most important election of modern times. The race is close. Too close. 

For some, the prospect of winning is just that - WINNING! WE WON! OUR GUY WON! YESSSS!

For some, the prospect of winning means just a little more safety in a society that is inherently unsafe for many different types of bodies.

For some, there is shock that the race is so tight this time around - have we learned NOTHING?

And for others, there is nothing shocking about the millions and millions of Americans who voted to keep a president and administration that has so blatantly lied, harmed, incited violence and proudly supported Whyte supremacy. 

Despite the expected Trump televised victory speech that aired in the wee hours of morning before the counting of millions and millions of ballots, we won't know these results for possibly a few more days. As we prepare ourselves for the results, let's think about cactus for a moment...

The cactus is an unusual and resilient desert plant. There are many different varieties of cactus, and in the desert spring, they dot the red sands with bright almost neon fuschia, coral pink, crimson, lemon yellow and peach blooms. 

They often thrive in areas with only two inches of water per year, yet each spring they muster up the resources to put on a show of color that will take your breath away. How do they do this?

Their resilience lies in their ability to soak up the rain near the surface of the soil with small thirsty roots, while a large tap root burrows deep into the earth seeking and hopefully finding ground water. They are able to store this viscous fluid in their broad, thick leaves because they are covered in spiny needles that prevent other animals from devouring them.

These cacti don't give up. Each year, there they are like bright little neon beacons reminding us that we too can call upon our inner resources to bloom bright and loud. 

It is time to dig deep inside and commit. Regardless of who "wins" this presidency, there is work to be done. This tired and corrupt old way of doing things just doesn't work for those who are not privileged by the power system. Regardless of who leads us, we cannot slip into a place of complacency and believe that our political leaders will be able to pull us out of this despair and division.

Even if we receive another four years of an administration hell bent on denying the importance of a clean environment, denying the value of black and brown bodies, denying the blatant daily corruption... We can be the change makers we have been waiting for, drawing on our own values, having hard conversations and being willing to give up our own comforts for unity.

I thank these cacti for reminding me of my resolve to use my own voice and skills to continue working toward equality for all bodies; protection and safety for all bodies; respect and dignity for all bodies.

Regardless of which dude leads our nation, there is still so much work to be done. We may need a moment to reorganize, regroup, refresh... And then... let the work begin. 

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