WESTERN WISDOM "A Desert Needs Saguaro?" audio podcast by award-winning western author Stephen Bly. Sponsored by BlyBooks.com Legacy Series.
"It Ain't Desert Without Saguaro Cactus" blog post article found here: https://www.blybooks.com/2023/09/saguaro-cactus/
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A Desert Needs Saguaro Cactus
We drove our youngest son, Aaron, at age five to the Arizona desert for the first time. We entered the state near the Needle Mountains and drove to Kingman. I explained all the joys and charms of the desert, but Aaron wasn’t impressed.
“This isn’t the desert,” he insisted. “There’s no cactus!”
I pointed out the Joshua trees and the yucca, explaining they were succulent cousins of cactus. But he still frowned. Likewise, I found out that cholla, ocotillo, barrel, and pear cactus didn’t convince him he was in the desert either.
“I want to see the giant, tall cactus with arms,” he insisted.
“Oh, the saguaro cactus,” I exclaimed. “But they don’t grow in the Mojave Desert. We’ll have to wait until we get to the Sonoran Desert to find those.”
“Then, this isn’t really the desert,” he reported.
Saguaro Cactus Transplant
Fortunately, the good folks of the Kingman, Arizona Chamber of Commerce transplanted a gigantic saguaro cactus out by the sign as you enter the city. Seeing its arms stretched upward towards the heavens, Aaron shouted, “Now we’re in the desert!”
I suppose for many folks saguaro have become symbolic of the American desert. Actually, a desert is any location with so little water that not much plant life can grow. This most often looks like a useless wasteland. But have you noticed how many important spiritual events take place in a desert?
Divine Desert Moments
God met Hagar in the desert. Moses was called by God while dwelling in the desert. The Hebrew people ate manna in the desert. David found safety in the desert. John the Baptist began his preaching ministry in the desert. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert. And Paul came face to face with Jesus in the desert (Acts 8:26).
In fact, so many important spiritual events take place in deserts, it ought to make the faithful consider moving there. I figure it’s the solitude of the desert that makes it so useful to faithful people. Away from all else, you have time to listen and hear God speak.
Your Favorite Desert Place
Your desert might contain the forests of saguaro. Or it might be sand dunes by Lake Michigan. It’s wherever you can eliminate the confusion of this life and discern the Lord speaking to you personally. Every one of us needs that kind of desert.