Not everyone admires cacti the way I do. It seems thorns can leave a lasting impression.
My life, it seems, revolves ’round things that are green,
Like my horses and alfalfa bales stacked high.
But my thumb? No, in fact.
It’s less green and more black,
So my planting is limited to cacti.
See, I understand where these prickly plants stand.
In multiple ways we are on the same page.
They thrive in the heat,
They’re sharp yet discreet,
And seem to only get meaner as they age.
In my yard they are strewn, in pots that are blue.
They need not my attention or loving care,
And they grow just the same
With no food and no rain.
Call me crazy, I love me some prickly pear.
So imagine my eyes, dismay and surprise,
When a friend pulled right up my gravel driveway,
And shaking his head no,
Said, “There’s no way I’ll go
Near those darn blue pots while I’m mounted today.”
I looked at him perplexed, searching for context.
“What ever did they all do to poor ol’ you?
You seem very anti
When viewing my cacti.
I need to hear your unique point of view.”
“I lived,” he explained, “on the high mountain plains,
Between the Rockies and Nebraska state line.
I rode colts and took care
Of some yearlings out there.
It was really one heck of a great time.
“But the grass, though quite good, grew short where it stood,
And the cactus spread wild beyond measure.
But as an astute guy,
When I’d see a bad eye,
Threw my loop at the certainly sick heifer.
“As these things often go, I once lost control,
But still dallied with prickly pear all around.
My cinch wasn’t pulled tight.
My horse pitched a big fight
In the middle of thorn-riddled desert ground.
“My saddle slid down, cantle close to the ground.
Rocks and brush chewed up my wrapped saddle horn.
The sick heifer got loose.
Then it spooked my cayuse,
And I tumbled right off into the sharp thorns.
“The mistake was mine, I admit it each time,
For I was as green as a young bottle fly.
Yep, I learn the hard way,
Still, what a bizarre day.
I’m so glad there was no one watching nearby.
“Embarrassed as I recall, and that’s not all.
When I fell off, my body made a loud SMACK,
Right down in a cactus
With perfect exactness.
And I’m still pulling thorns out of my back.
“I’ve learned to be more bright and pull my cinch tight,
A tough lesson of which I’m keenly aware.
Though I stuck with the job,
My poor backside did throb
From needles embedded in my derrière.
“So now to be certain, safe and secure,
I keep distance from those thorny old plants.
And though yours are quite mild
Not like ones that grow wild,
I swear I will never again take that chance.”
We laughed ’bout his plight, then each caught one to ride.
And his saddle did not move even a thread.
When his colt hit a trot
He stayed far from my pots,
And I had to chuckle inside of my head.
So past viewing pleasure, my cacti now offer
A good laugh just about every new day.
And ev’ry prickly inch
Hollers, “Tighten your cinch!”
Before I mount up and ride on my way.