Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Endurance

Cacti are very surprising plants. Just when you get used to them they send out beautiful blooms - maybe not for very long (some blooms only last one day) but often abundantly. The bloom in the photograph is already on its way out to be quickly replaced by the others that surround it. Generally regarded as a symbol of patience and endurance, the cactus has its place on the Mexican coat of arms - an eagle devours a snake perched on a prickly pear cactus. The official explanation is that Mexico's challenges will be overcome by its people, despite the thorny nature of the difficulties encountered. Native to the Americas (and very ancient indeed), cacti are said to have been brought back to Europe by the expedition of Christopher Columbus. Cacti are seen by Palestinians not only as a symbol of persistence but also of nostalgia for the "good old days" and cacti feature in much contemporary Palestinian art.