Updated: Apr 22, 2020
I consider myself a bad ass for many reasons. First off, I am a single woman in her 40’s and choose to live alone. This means I take out the trash, cook and clean while managing a business, caring for two cats and working another job. I had a bad ass career in social services and as a woman I worked for less than what most men make. Not to toot too loudly but after surviving a relationship that took me into the darkest experience of death within my heart and womb, I dragged my bad ass back into the world and took the risk to move on. Since a bad ass can not dwell in the land of despair forever, I focused on what I could change... my career. Since I am a practiced overachiever I tackled two new fields, the first being esthetics, the study of the skin, the second aromatherapy. Aromatherapy involves knowledge of plants and taxonomy, chemistry and how these small components impact your anatomy and physiology. Within a year I started a business teaching workshops and selling aromatic healing oils. But vocational change alone does not a bad ass make; the ultimate bad ass accepts a massive overhaul in behavior and psyche.
I am now three years out from the failed relationship and have cauterized my wounds through the use of plant medicine. Aromatherapy, flower essences, hydrosols, dried herbs, fresh flowers, and daily interaction with cacti and the living desert.
Since moving to the Sonoran Desert I have been carrying on about Saguaro. I take pictures of them and can find my way around the city easier by tracking these gigantic cacti than street names. It was only a matter of time before I wanted to be up close and personal. I researched habitat and soils and spent time investigating nurse trees. I visited greenhouses but did not find the right match until I was presented with a gift from my folks; Janice. You can find her photo at the top of this blog, as well as a cash of photos below.
Before Janice arrived I had begun mixing organic palm tree and citrus dirt cultivating the soil for her health and longevity. During part of the dirt additions I discovered some fairly sizable chunks of wood but figured it was nothing to worry about. I didn’t even remember the chunks of wood until the day I planted Janice and my shovel hit a solid surface. At first I thought it might be cement and the garden was actually shallow...but as I worked my way around the object it was about 6 inches in diameter, and what I uncovered was a sizable trunk.
For a bad ass, the large trunk still attached to its mother root gave hope instead of discouragement. It meant this was a great place for Janice. She would grow tall and strong with love and amazing soil and the Arizona sun. Looking at this as an opportunity to use my physical stamina and my new shovel, I set to work. About a half hour later I realized I was getting no where fast. The deeper I dug the more trunk I found. An hour in I was wet from sweat and frustrated because even my shovel couldn’t do more than wiggle this ridiculous root. It was then that my neighbor poked his head over the wall to inquire what the moaning and groaning was about. Total bad asses often express their disappointment when life does not go their way through loud expulsions of air...sometimes mixed into the expulsion are words like “….dammmmmmit…..F’ing…..treee trunkk”.
My neighbor assessed that my temper was on the rise, as was my desperation to plant Janice, and the bougainvillea and faerie duster I had unearthed (while trying to remove the trunk). He brought tools. Grown up tools like an ax and a huge metal spike thing with a handle. This looked fun. I was happy until he told me to keep digging. While digging I got frustrated because the shovel and the spike would wiggle the trunk, alluding to the fact that it might give …. so I kept jamming my shovel under the trunk to unearth it until I heard a crack and the shovel broke. Sometimes things break because bad asses don’t know their own strength...or because they get in touch with their frustration...
Remember earlier on when I offhandedly mentioned the failed relationship...well part of being a bad ass is knowing how to channel your anger. Three years of anger and a broken shovel got channeled towards that trunk-stump-root of malcontent. I was going to use the ax to chop the root into pieces so small they would fertilize the already amazing soil bed I had prepared. I was not going to let a big take up too much space tree trunk stop me from planting new life! Because my focus was now dialed in on destroying the trunk that was attached to a root that grew beneath my cement patio, I was distracted when my neighbor returned to assist.
He suggested I might stop chopping on the trunk. When I showed him what I could do with the big pointed metal spike and the ax together he did not look impressed. I assured him that if he could loan me a saw I would have it out in no time. But he did not have an electric saw, and the angle of this root/trunk was not going to allow a hand held saw to easily cut into the wood. So my neighbor leaves and returns with ... a drill! No, I am not kidding.
I know the whole shtick of having the right tool for the job. But I did not have the right tools and neither did he. What he knew is that bad asses don’t give up, so I was either going to a hardware store to buy an electric saw, or use what was in front of me. I chose the later. My neighbor drilled holes and I got to hit the trunk until it gave. The curved tip you see on that chunk of wood (pictured below) was where the trunk was still attached to the mother root...which if you look at the other photo you may see where the root grew under the patio.
In the end the trunk was removed, and Janice was happily planted next to a Faerie Duster as her nurse tree and a bougainvillea for additional shading and color. The process of providing my saguaro friend a good home took about three hours of blood, sweat and tears. It included a lesson on not giving up, creatively using the tools you have, and investing in a better shovel. All this and when I finally went inside to hydrate and use the bathroom I noticed I had started my period. Now, only a total bad ass can end a day like that.
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