Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Who'd guess I'd be nostalgic over prickly things? Last weekend the Omaha Branch of Pen Women, actually the American League of American Pen Women - NLAPW, visited the 4-room glass house conservatory at our city's Lauritzen Gardens. Our March monthly meeting, set around the coming of Spring, was expressly chosen to inspire the creative work of our members who are professional artists, authors and composers. What a trip to the Mediterranean and Tropical Zones it was. Rivers of vivid colored cyclamen wandered along the first pathways. Fountains sang water music along the paths. Magnolia trees and blooming bushes invited us to linger. But I was drawn to the cacti and succulents. I admired the Teddy Bear cactus, so soft and cuddly looking you wanted to reach out and touch it. But it's a cruel April Fool joke if you do, because its spines are tipped with multi-points that embed in the skin and are almost impossible to remove. I remember not being able to resist the impulse to see how it felt. Oh my! Never did that again. As I looked at the hardy examples of cactus, I remembered my first days in the Sonoran Desert, strolling the yard, then walking the wash, learning the names and nicknames of plants growing on our property. Night Blooming Cereus. Jumping Cholla. Hedgehog. Barrel. Staghorn. Bunny Ears. Pincushion. Beaver Tail. Darning Needle. Fish Hook. Horse Crippler. One thing for sure, the persons who came up with these cactus designations had a sense of humor and a most eloquent turn of phrase.

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