Hatoria salicornioides (2013)

PhotoBy Chris Deem (February 2013)

It is a carefree season where beauty rules supreme. It is a time of feasting and dancing, a time of no regrets. In the streets and behind closed doors, everywhere there is felt an undercurrent, the earthy music of drums. The forceful rhythm is like the heartbeat of the crowd.

Tonight this brief season of self-indulgence burns white hot in its intensity. The unyielding hedonism stands like a swirling vortex of feathers and false gold against its swiftly approaching opposite.

Briefly, a disturbance, an unsteady wavering is felt in the undercurrent of the music. For a moment, everywhere there is felt the somber approach. Yet tonight is is still Carnival.

I have a small Hatoria salicornioides. It is one of the five listed species of Hatoria in Mr. Anderson’s book The Cactus Family. It is a Brazilian cactus from the tribe Rhipsalideae, and it is rather common. It is found in Minas Gerais, in Sao Paulo and in Bahia. It also grows in Rio de Janeiro.

It is a dainty plant that, depending on its size, can grow erect or pendent. It is sun-loving until midday, when the sun’s intensity becomes too great. It is so common until its flowers of vivid yellow and orange appear, like a bright festival. When its flowers are gone, it is common once more.

Something about my Hatoria salicornioides reminds me of the meeting of opposites, like the ending of Carnival and the beginning of Lent.