The Personality of a Cactus

The saguaro cacti are one of my favorite features of the Sonoran Desert. These tall giants each seem to have an individual personality.  For example, these two saguaros look like they’re waving goodnight to the setting sun.

Good Night Saguaros, Saguaro National Park

It’s easy to anthropomorphize the saguaros because their shape is so human-like. Their trunk is like the torso, the top of the cactus is like the head, and their arms gesture in different ways just like human arms. Like looking for shapes in clouds, it can be fun to imagine the personality of different cacti based on their gestures. As I traveled around Saguaro National Park in Tucson, AZ, I found several common themes among the cacti. Here are some of the classifications I came up with.

The Fighter, Saguaro National Park

The Fighter is a very common one. The cactus has its fists up, ready to fight.

The Dancer is a little more unusual because the arms have to grow in an abnormal direction. But I saw several examples of these dancers.

The Dancer, Saguaro National Park

The Diver, Saguaro National Park

The Diver, about to disappear below the surface.

The Hold-Up Victim, Saguaro National Park

The Hold-Up Victim is another common one. Sometimes they have more of a happy-go-lucky demeanor, but this one looked like it was getting held up to me.

The Surgeon, Saguaro National Park

The Surgeon is operating on the other plant.

The Opera Singer, Saguaro National Park

The Opera Singer is somewhat common, but this was a special one. When I saw the round hole at the top, which looks like the open mouth of an opera singer who is holding a long note, I knew I had found the best example I could!

There are so many others, too. Like the Saguaro of Liberty, which looks like it holds a tablet in one arm while raising a torch in its other arm, the Walmart greeter, and many others. It’s not that hard to imagine all kinds of personalities and scenarios, and it’s a lot of fun.

Here’s one more saguaro photograph I made. I’ll leave it to you to imagine the personality of this one. For me, it was the perfect subject in some beautiful light. That’s a recipe for a great portrait--I’m sure the cactus would be proud!

Saguaro in the Setting Sun, Saguaro National Park