From far away, the desert looks dead.

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Get closer —

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but not too close —

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and you’ll see beautiful life everywhere.

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Barrel cactuses with crowns of flowers,

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and ocotillos tipped with red-orange blossoms,

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their branches covered in tiny leaves.

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Cholla (choy-ya), looking fuzzy from afar,

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reproduce by dropping segments of their branches on the ground

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and attaching themselves with their prickly spines to passersby (including Kirk’s mom’s foot! Ouch.)

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Not everything was blooming, or alive.

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Dead cholla.

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The rocks weren’t alive either, but they still entertained Kirk.

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This baby barrel, with spines untamed, was my favorite cactus.

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Cactus love. ☼

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