Thursday, July 23, 2009

Flower of the Dublin Desert

Echinocactus grusonii, officially an endangered plant on the red list, but at the same time easy to grow. How does that work? This cactus looks great from the top which is an unusual angle. The top shot is my favourite for plants such as this simply because they are generally arranged to be looked at from the side in botanic gardens. The wide angle lens makes this shot possible - get close, get wide and away with your tripods and macro lens! As a child I couldn't say cactus and always said catkuss. Still do, say some! Sometimes called Mother in Law's Cushion, this is one of my favourite desert plants. Which brings me to my discourse which is all about the desert. I am indebted to Carlos Castaneda for my fascination with the desert and its flowers. The desert was once considered the place to retreat to in order to enjoy the life of the hermit. It is barren and devoid of life, excepting for the life that God puts there. It is the place of Christ's wanderings and temptations and there be also the daemons of St Anthony. For Islam this is quite different, the desert being being undifferentiated and primordial. The caravan moves across its stretches to seek for essence underneath the crust, the appearance of the desert. The cactus, flower of the desert is of course is the stuff of endurance and survival in that wilderness.