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Cactus, Bluebonnets and Prickly Things


I don’t like cactus. I grew up in New Mexico, in the part of the state full of cactus and tumbleweeds. Have you ever fallen into a bed of cactus? It’s not a good time, let me tell you. Brushing up against one of them hurts. Even glancing at one might poke your eye out. Stepping on a nail is less painful than those prickly things.

When I was out hunting bluebonnets last weekend, I came across a batch of them and made sure to tiptoe around it. I don’t even like making noise near them in case it angers them. I took shot after shot of the surrounding countryside. Barn…check. Bluebonnets…check. Old fence…check. Just when I figured I’d captured all there was to see, I looked down.

“Look at me, I’m beautiful too!”

There was the cactus I’d been so careful to avoid, right at my feet. I’d drifted in my search for the right photo and nearly walked right into them. Something about it said “take a closer look”, so I did. I knelt down and clicked. I didn’t even think much of it, just clicked a few shots off. That’s when Biker Dude stopped by (Monday’s post, in case you missed it). I forgot all about the cactus and went on about my day.

Today I was looking back through the photos I took that day, and found this. Other than an awesome shot of my parents, this is probably the best one I took. The cactus that I tiptoed around and ignored turned out to be the coolest photo.

I love how the prickles of the cactus create a mosaic type pattern against the green background. I love the twig mixing with the cactus thorns. I love the bluebonnets splashing their color through the scene. I love the mix of hard and soft. And I love that something I usually think of as horrible and a nuisance, gave me such a smile this morning.

As I focus on the revisions for my current work in progress, I’m going to try to remember this lesson. When I struggle with a scene, and its thorns are poking me in the face and making me think I should just give the whole thing up…maybe that’s just because it’ll turn out to be the most beautiful scene in the end.

I hope so!



14 comments on… “Cactus, Bluebonnets and Prickly Things”

  1. Author Kristen Lamb

    I LOVE this post AND the picture! Can you take some for my blog? 😀

    • Aww, thanks! And sure, anytime :-). I’m not the world’s best photographer, not by a long shot. But I have fun trying! It really stirs up creativity to deliberately try to see the world at different angles.

  2. 🙂 I grew up in New Mexico too. My brother actually sat on a cactus when he was a little guy, so he made sure to always keep me far away from them. One of the few times he was uber protective. Your analogy is lovely. I may just go get a little cactus in a pot to remind me!

    • Oh ouch! I’m so sorry for him! I haven’t actually sat on one but I’ve stepped in quite a few and pulled any number of thorns out of the dog’s nose. I’m having sympathy pains now lol. That’s a good older brother, sounds like something mine would do 🙂

  3. This was a great post, Melinda! I’ll have to remember this one when I’m being poked by a prickly scene in my own WIP.
    I have really enjoyed your pictures in the last few blogs, too.
    Great job!

    • Thanks Marcy 🙂 It was a lucky shot. Which I think is key, really. I took over 150 photos that day. That’s the secret photographers never tell you. It takes a lot of bad photos to find that one good one they are willing to share with you :-). So the next time you take photos, just keep clicking.

  4. Beautiful picture and inspirational post. Just what I needed to get me through a difficult round of revisions.

    Thanks, Melinda!

    • Thanks Jacqui 🙂 I’m right there with you on revisions. The first two scenes are making me smile but the next two…oh they are fighting me! We’re going to have to have words if this keeps up.

  5. Serendipity for you to get such a neat shot.
    I was in Arizona recently and admired the determination and fortitude of those tall cactus (saguaro? or as my husband says, the ones with the big arms). Some of them must be very old.

    • hehe, yep. Big arms all right! Those don’t grow in New Mexico thankfully, or I’m sure I’d have fallen into one at some point. Then again, the prickly pears are bad enough. I don’t like those big cactus because they are all taller than me 😉

  6. What a great analogy! It is so true that sometimes you have to take a closer look at things to recognize their beauty. Not all beauty is the same. That would be boring! I, too, love contrast. Usually I only think of it in fashion and cooking, but it really is everywhere, isn’t it? Great post!

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