Cactus Tops and Teardrops

The old man with a rod in his hand,
listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival,
watched her walk by.
Someone to fill his eyes and his time.
Nowhere to go.
Nowhere to be.
Living an afternoon dream.
A life his own. No one, but himself, to please.

He’s not lonely.
He can talk to the fish if needed.

Watching her bounce down the path.
Wavy blond hair under a baseball cap.
Stop she did, to adjust her camera. click, click, click

Oh yes, now is the time to take photos of bursting bulbs,
he thought.

What’s her story, his mind began to wonder, as he watched
her stretch her lens toward the cactus tops.

She caught his gaze. She gave him a friendly wave.
Thoughts free flowing, through his mind.
An old man waiting for the fish to bite.

Just as he began to create a story of who she was,
she vanished. She was gone.

Plenty of blooming saguaro along the trail,
but she noticed more, beyond the tall brush,
beyond the barbed wire fence.
That is where she needed to be.
Not along this path of predictability.

She pushed through the shrub,
stopping here, lifting there.
Stepping carefully across thorny growth
and unstable earth.

This looks like a good place to start,
she thought.

Perfect timing. Nature’s gifts.
A dragonfly descends.
Not one, but two. New life begins.
A butterfly meanders on its way to cooler temps.
Darting to and fro, a busy cactus wren
(state bird for those who don’t know).
Nest spotted, protected by thorns.
Miss Wren’s busy pace made sense.
Baby beaks to feed, nestled within.

Capturing nature’s dance,
when she noticed a tiny yellow flower,
filling the frame.
Out of place. Vibrant against the many shades
of earth tone browns and grays.

Why, she can’t explain, but the sight of it,
made tears flow and spill.
A rare desert rain.

She put down all she was carrying,
her equipment and burdens too.
She sat next to the tiny yellow bud
and dreamt away the hot afternoon.

She saw things as she never had before.
Wise, she was, to explore.

The sun was setting and the fish
weren’t biting or talking.
Time for the old man to pack up and go home.
Maybe stop at Fast Food.
Maybe get a fish sandwich to go.

He moved slowly, not because of his
arthritic knees and feet.
He was watching and wondering
and wondering and watching…
what happened to the lady who disappeared
beyond the tall shrubs and thorny trees?
Maybe he should look for her.
Maybe she fell and twisted her foot.

She’s fine.
She just needs more time.

He walked away, slowly,
looking over his left shoulder.
Still no sign.
He packed up his gear and released a sigh
before closing his car door.
Looking in his rear-view,
driving toward last week’s catch at the drive-thru.🐟

I cannot just take pictures in the great outdoors, tune out my surroundings, and call it a day. My mind does not work that way. I notice people, things, and sounds beyond my camera lens. Seeing many perspectives and having an imagination makes life more interesting, especially when dreaming away a hot afternoon next to a yellow bloom.🌻

Thank you for visiting and reading. I hope you enjoyed my poetic tale that is more than half true. Not to be confused with half-truths. Be well.💗 Michele

Photos: Sonoran Desert, my images

© 2021 Michele Lee Sefton.

73 thoughts on “Cactus Tops and Teardrops

  1. I love this poetic musing Michele, especially the old man’s perspective and the woman enthralled by nature and the yellow blossom. I’m delighted that you can become so absorbed in your surroundings and imagination. 🌵🎣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very kind of you to say. 😊 Getting lost in nature and in imagination are pleasant ways to spend the afternoon, even if a few tears flow next to a yellow bloom. 🌞 Plant note: I learned the flower is actually an invasive species… explains its out-of-place nature.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So many layers to this, Michele. I like how you put self in third person, allowing for expanded perspective. Your words make me miss Arizona. I remember the first time I heard a Cactus wren and wondered what the heck that was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very perceptive. Yes, many layers. Thank you for noticing. 😊 Yes, that distinct sound. Very good. I should add video next time. AZ, like everyplace, has things to miss, until summer hits. Then get me the hell out of scorching inferno! 🥵 It’s a dry heat, though. 😆 Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you enjoyed my story. So sweet you are! I do get immersed in the moment and then immersed again when I sit down to write. Reliving, sensing, and feeling the lived moments. A touch of of fiction and fantasy are quite fun too! Getting lost is not always a bad thing. Getting lost in a story can be quite pleasing and entertaining, as you know, Miss Storyteller. Thank you and enjoy your weekend. I am sure you have been very busy! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely understand. I spent many years in school and even though it has been awhile since I finished my second graduate program, I still feel like I should be doing homework. 😂 Do rest when you can.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, David. I appreciate that! 😊 🥰

      P.S. I truly appreciate the questions you ask. Keep asking. 😀 My “old man” character note was feeling a bit too PC, so I revised my post and omitted that and related comments. I am just going to let the old man be. 😉 Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am happy to read you enjoyed my story. Thank you, Annabel.😃 A story to lead into summer – it will be here soon. And when summer arrives you won’t catch me out in the desert in the middle of the day. Too hot! Early mornings or early evenings only. if I can help it. 😆 Have a lovely rest of the weekend. 🌼🌻

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Michele, first a round of applause! 👏🏼🙌🏼👏🏼 Secondly, the old man was listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival? He’s got his 70s vibe going on here. “Who’ll Stop the Rain” is one of my favorite songs, along with “Down on the Corner.” 🎶 Oops, I digress. Anywho…

    I love the attention to the smallest of details you mentioned that’s so easily missed when you aren’t pausing to soak in nature’s little jewels. A collection of rocks, a blossoming weed, “Me and My Shadow, and the delicate flowers atop a prickly cactus. 🌵🌺💐

    Beauty abounds whether on top of a cactus and even in a teardrop! 😥😊😎 How inspiring my dear!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kym and digress away! Good tunes, I like their song, “Fortunate Son.” 🎶 😃

      I love your comments about noticing small details. Doing that can enrich our lives, especially our writing lives.😊 ✍🏽 💖 “Beauty abounds” – yes! The saguaro are gorgeous this time of year and tears can be cathartic and cleansing and maybe water a thirsty little plant. 😆 My pleasure, thank you. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  4. asumoftheparts

    So thought-provoking—your clear imagery was peaceful,quieting—inviting the reader to step into this busy but quiet desert only few stop to see. I love the old man.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. How wonderful. Thank you and thanks for accepting the invitation to step into my story. I love the old man character too. I was inspired by the old man fishing and I enjoyed weaving him into my story, with a little creative embellishment, of course. 😃


  5. Oh my, Michele, I adore this poem. I was right there with you, my dear friend, emotions and all. Elegance and resilience came through in waves for me. The pics are beautiful, my friend. I love when you share pics of the desert, which I miss…have a lovely Sunday. ❤️🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such thoughtful comments. Thank you, Jeff. Love your word choice ~ “elegance and resilience.” Love that message. Thanks for sharing that you love the pics. That is motivating for me. Enjoy! 🌞💖

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a sweet tale, with so many stories etched into it! I love the pictures too. And the title of this piece is just so perfect! Thank you for sharing this with us, Michele. Stay blessed ❤️❤️🌹💐😘🤗


  7. It’s been observed so wonderfully, Michele. It is an atmospheric poem that captures the moment and makes time stand still. There are only a few moments that you describe, but they show so much life.
    And I love the beautiful pictures too.
    Michele, I wish you all the best…. ❤
    Rosie from Germany

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m looking forward to your photos from the desert, Michele! Many years ago I made a round trip through the western USA and was also in the Arizona desert. There is a photo of me in white shorts standing in front of a large, large three-armed cactus 🌵 .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, Rosie, I posted a few on my Instagram account. Are you on that platform? How wonderful that you were able to take a trip through the western US and visit Arizona while you were here. What year did you visit? Is the photo on your blog?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. How I love this two-faced internal monologue, Michele! This me when I am anywhere with people, be on the sidewalk or the grocery store. I notice things and build upon them in my mind. How much of a person I create and how much of that person is true to themselves I do not know, but time leaves room for everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jaya. I enjoyed writing the internal monologue and look forward to doing that again. I am not surprised at all by your observant nature, when you are out and about. The nature of a writer. We notice and observe so much, we have to write and release it all! Creating stories and dialogue and filling in the details where there are gaps. Oh the fun we have! “… time leaves room for everything.” There is something very calming about that idea. Brilliant too. Thank you. 🙏🏻

      Liked by 1 person

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