Letting Go At The Solstice Fire

The long thick spines of the cactus glowed hot orange as the body turned a charred black.    I watched it burn but I wanted to pull it out of the fire, to rescue it.

It hurt to see it there.

That’s right, I thought, it hurts. Let it hurt, feel the pain, don’t run from it.  Then let it go.

I’ve had the cactus for more than forty-five years.

It moved with me eight times, growing tall thick, and woody.  A few years ago it flowered for the first and only time.  Last summer it got a fungus.  Over the winter I tried to scrape it off,  spray it with neem oil and prune it.

Nothing worked.  The fungus kept coming back.

I finally gave up, but couldn’t bear to throw the cactus in the garbage. I didn’t want to compost it thinking the fungus might spread.  I decided to burn it at our Summer Solstice fire.

Because I have Bellydancing Class tonight we had our Solstice fire a day early.  Last night as I watched my cactus burn and felt the pain of letting it go, I also felt that I was letting a part of my past go.  I thought of the fourteen-year-old me riding my bicycle back from the flea market after buying the cactus small enough to fit in a plastic cup and felt grateful for the life I have now.

So I let the pain burn through me as I watched my cactus glow and darken then fall through the branches it was perched on and into the ashes below.

I still have a few pots with that cactus’ offspring.  This summer I will prune and repot them all, continuing the ritual and giving them a chance to begin again too.

2 thoughts on “Letting Go At The Solstice Fire

  1. It’s good that you have offshoots. I understand how you felt about letting the cactus go. I would feel the same and I couldn’t put it in the trash either. I don’t even like putting dead bugs in the garbage. I put them outside to go back to Nature. Burning the fungus was a good release I’m sure.

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