Some people express care, love, and gratitude with flowers. Roses, daisies, and sunflowers being the most beloved. However, there are a few others express those emotions with cacti and succulents.
Hazel Rusty Smith, currently of Flagstaff, Arizona, was exactly that type of person.
She loved, loved, loved everything she laid eyes on. Everything brought her excitement, believing in the possibility of the good was who she was. And Hazel was far from conventional about anything as one with her beliefs typically were. Hazel didn’t like the romantic connotation that came with roses. She was far from fond of the smell of daisies. And her bitterness to sunflowers was completely based on the fact the plant usually grew taller then she was.
But Hazel loved cacti.
She loved little ones primarily. The ones one might put in a tiny pot and place in the center of a coffee table; far from the dangerous edge where it might fall or be in too close of reach to curious children and intrigued dogs. Not that their small pricks would cause much harm to the small creatures, but if the jars would fall, they were sure to break. No matter where she called home, Hazel had a ridiculous adv to carpet and rugs.
And Hazel loved succulents.
To her, they were the friendlier, more open version of her beloved cacti. From the variety of shapes and sizes, she still hadn’t found one she didn’t adore. She liked the ones with light reds and purples in the edges of their spiked leaves best. She thought the delicate, graceful tint of color made the room brighter. It didn’t, but it was a small thing that made her happy so no one corrected her.
But the most magical part of both plants was what they brought to Hazel. While she did enjoy being with people, petting dogs and cats and drinking overly sweetened tea, as most of us do; there was something about those two plants that didn’t need much water that brought her something much greater than mere enjoyment.
It brought her peace.
Cacti and succulents are little things Hazel could help grow and live, that provided the sweet feeling of pure contentedness.
Her mother had loved them just as much. Hazel always guessed that was where she got the love from.
“They are just like the rest of the Smith family you know,” her mother had always said. “There are bits of us that continue on in the spikes and the pointed petals. There are bits of your father and your brother and your aunts and uncles. Your grandparents and even your future children. They are all there in these little plants my love.”
That was a story she told when she was still strong. When her strength began to faulter, that was when Hazel started looking for somewhere new to be. By the time her mother was in the hospital, looking more and more skeletal, Hazel found this small apartment in Flagstaff. It was just down the street from an old friend’s coffee shop where she could work part time when copywriting doesn’t pay all the bills.
Sitting in the new, clean apartment, Hazel took a deep breath of fresh air as she took those words from the special spot in her heart and whispered them aloud. Letting those sacred words live out in the empty space around her, out the window and into the welcoming city, surrounding her like a comforting hug.
Close but not too tight.
About the Creator
Kat L’Esperance-Stokes was born in Santa Monica during a lightning storm. After, she fell in love with Southern California, making playlists, horror, folklore, and writing. Now you could find her on instagram and twitter @katliswriting.