Ken B. was relating his first encounter with Cholla cactus to us recently. He barely brushed by one and found himself accosted by one of the quick release sections of that angry succulent. The multitude of spines protruding from the Cholla each have a tiny fishhook point. Like Brer Rabbit trying to get loose from the tar baby it is tricky to extricate oneself from the grip of the Cholla.
It was one of the several cactus varieties we called “jumping cactus,” as we were growing up in the deserts around Tucson. One or other of us would invariably fall victim to a jumping cactus, as the desert was our playground. Assistance from a brother, cousin or friend was always required when one of those cactuses “jumped” us. I recall walking home more than once, impaled with one on an arm or leg and dad having to yank it off with the pliers. “Ouch” is right!
The Cholla is like sin. You can’t walk there, and brush by without getting caught and hurt. Trying to get it off by yourself often resulted in more attachment. Foolish it was, but we often found something down within the arms of the Cholla which was hard to pass up. Doves and wrens would build their nests in them. They were so close! If we were careful, maybe we could reach an arm in and get the eggs! Bad idea! Satan does that too, as he puts attractions in where we ought not to reach.
Eventually we kids learned to play in the desert where the cactus weren’t so abundant. There is so much that is good, right, wholesome and true that God has for us, we are the fool to want to play in the devil’s cactus plants.
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