Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Common Knowledge

Carnegiea gigantea
Facts about the Mighty Saguaro


The holes in this Saguaro are from Gila woodpeckers and gilded flickers, who carve out nesting sites in saguaros. After the original birds move out, others, such as owls and sparrows, use the abandoned nests the next year. The cactus is not hurt by the holes, unless a bacterial infection sets in. This is fairly rare, as the cactus has a mechanism in place to quickly callus inside the hollow.

Have you ever noticed that a disturbing number of people seem oblivious to the simplest things about their locale, or even the neighborhood in which they live? I've traveled to many places, and it is rare to find even one person who can tell me the town's approximate population, the name of a native tree or flower, the elevation, weather patterns, or even the name of a river that runs through the town. One would think this kind of information would be common knowledge to those living there.

In one town I visited, a shopkeeper couldn’t understand why I wanted to know about such trivial stuff, and said no one he knew really cared about that kind of thing, that there were far more important things to think about, that I was the only person who had ever asked for that information, and that maybe I should just go buy a book. I left his shop empty handed, both in knowledge and goods.

I did run into a taxi driver once who was a genuine storehouse of data regarding the area I was visiting. He answered every question in detail, volunteered fascinating facts about the flora and fauna of the area, and did it with the aplomb of a tour guide describing his route. He received a very large tip.

16 comments:

Debra Kay said...

I love the Arizona. I had a friend in Tucson for awhile-she's still a friend, she just moved.

Someday I'd like to take a motorcycle trip and ride out through New Mexico to Arizona.

kate smudges said...

It's fascinating to read of how woodpeckers buils a home inside these cacti and how they can heal themselves so quickly.

A sad statement, isn't it, about our lives when people don't even know the basic facts of their area. It's common here too ... I'm always amazed at how little people notice in their natural environment.

beckie said...

I love those big old cactus. Don't they live forever-well a long time anyway? It's funny how birds will use what's available when making a nest.

Why would you live somewhere and not know anything about the place, much less have a business and not be able to answer a few questions!

WiseAcre said...

I can't help but think of Wile E. Coyote after seeing the Saguaro. It's one of his favorite landing spots.

Well you might get disturbing answers from me too. I love to mess with 'outsiders'

Ginni Dee said...

I remember when I was in Jamaica...the bus driver that took us from the airport to our hotel told us so many wonderful things about the plants, the people, the area. I agree...it's nice when you can learn about an area from it's people!

I love the things I learn about your area from your blog. I am just fascinated by your knowledge of cacti!

Lancashire rose said...

Lovely photo. i once saw the saguaro in flower; a wondeful sight.
jenny

Julie said...

It is interesting to find what floats each individuals boat! I think a lot of people just find me strange most of the time with what I like to research, and talk about! I don't even know how it happened! LOL

Rosehaven Cottage said...

I guess I thought everyone knew those kinds of facts about the town they live in. It startles me that someone wouldn't... and it saddens me too. Those people are missing out on some great stuff.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Claude said...

I don't know about people sometimes... I probably know more about this town than most of the people here, but there seems to be a general consensus that if it ain't on the TV it doesn't matter...

Fuchsienrot said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. My English isn't good, but I will try to write something...;-)
I'm very impressed by the variety of cacti and succulent. I didn't know that there are so many varietys. They are all beautiful and very interesting!

Angelika from Germany

jocelyn said...

The photo of the saguaro is stunning. Was it taken near your home? Does Phoenix have open space throughout its metroplex?

I'm convinced that people just don't spend as much time outdoors as they used to. The advent of air conditioning has insulated the American people from experiencing natures cycles and seasons on a daily (and personal) basis.

Barbara said...

What a sad statement you made. I wonder whether I'd get the right answers here to the questions you asked. I do hope ;-) !! But I am not quite sure!

-AG- said...

I've been a bad blogger, not really much to write about... just trying to summer everything over. I've lost a few little things and everything else looks good for this time of year. The exciting news is as of this day I received my official certificate for being recognized as a wildlife habitat :-) I'm very excited! Now to order the yard sign! I don't understand why people do not care about the details of what make up their communities. Those details are what make up the feel, look, and experience of an area. Without them everywhere would be the same... Oh well some folks live their lives with closed eyes

Kerri said...

Hi Aiyana, Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. I just can't imagine going without rain for 3 months, and those scorching temperatures! We've had a cool, rainy day here which kept me inside. Tomorrow is predicted to be sunny though, so I'll be able to get some of the many garden chores done.
The photo of the saguaro is gorgeous! I'd love to see your woodpeckers in their cactus homes.
Yes, it's sad when people are not at all curious about the basic facts of their area, when there are so many fascinating things to see and learn.
Your cactus flowers are amazing!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

I hadn't realised that birds nest in cacti but on second thought it makes sense. :-) On my second holiday I saw some humongous cacti and they made me think of you. Not that you are a cactus of course, but you know what I mean. :-D

It is sad that many people know very little of the area they live in, it's something that I have a hard time understanding.

Jon said...

Awesome photo with that rainbow in background! Did that mean y'all got a rain? If so, I suppose it was needed. Always a treat to visit your lovely blog with such sharp pictures and well-written text. Glad you dropped by my blog and left a comment, but I have no clue as to the climate zone of Shanghai, China where my cousin Scott lives. Best regards, Jon at Mississippi Garden