We’ve just come back from Tucson, AZ where we spent a fantastic week with family celebrating the wedding of my niece Caity and her new husband Andrew. I’ve been to the Sonoran Desert many times and if there is one place that represents the importance of resilience, it must be that unforgiving desert.
I’ve always been intrigued by the special relationship between the Palo Verde Tree and the Saguaro Cactus. Most people immediately recognize the Saguaro by its tall upright presence and striking arms that grow out of it over its century long life span. During its early years, the young Saguaro would not survive the heat of the Arizona summer and needs a symbiotic partner to help protect it from the intense sun. It receives its “nurse” care from the Palo Verde that allows the Saguaro to grow up under the cover of its branches. Through nature’s careful orchestration, the long-lived and vital Saguaro is protected and has its stress minimized.
We humans call this kind of symbiotic relationship “helping behaviors” and they particularly occur when we do our best to support others to avoid dangerous situations. The key as is the case of the Palo Verde is not to expect anything in return but to know that we are serving a greater good that will benefit others. And even though it seems as if there is not a great deal of recognition for the Palo Verde, those in the know, know.
© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2015