Tuning in to the cacti

The precocious cactus and its lute. 

Sometimes we need to accept pleasure when it comes and not ask questions.

On Sunday, with nothing else to do, we invited a couple of friends to go to El Charco Botanic Garden, a small jewel just outside San Miguel, to check out a demonstration of, yes, a cactus playing a lute.

Initially the demonstration left me mystified, but as in Whaat?!  rather than Wow!

A sensuously shaped string instrument made of beautiful carved woods indeed rested at an angle on a small platform covered with Mexican shawls. From the lute two thin wires went to a pot filled with cacti, about five inches high. One of the cacti was pierced by acupuncture-type needles attached at the end of the wires.

Thin needles and wires connected
the cactus and the lute.

And yes, from inside the instrument, which was described a Plasmath Lute, came soft, delightful and random plicking and plucking sounds. Nothing to whistle on your way out, but I could buy a CD of this talented duo to help me relax or even fall asleep.

The signs, in Spanish and English, credited Ariel Guzik of the Laboratory of Research of Resonance and Expression of Nature, for this creation, but shed no light on what it was or how it worked.

An Internet site described Guzik as a Mexican who “designs and produces mechanisms and instruments to enquire into the various languages of nature.”

How does it work? How does it work? Is this for real?

I followed a thin white wire going from  underneath the lute to the nearby wall, over the roof of the greenhouse and on to the other side, where it went into a solar-powered box with a small transformer inside. At the lute end there were no signs of speakers or any other sources of the entrancing music.

Finally I gave up as my curiosity surrendered to the music. Whaat!? became Hmm!

These four potted cacti were described as the “audience.”

The night before our visit there had been a serious downpour that  awakened the flowers and other plants at the garden just as they were ready to slip into winter dormancy.

We’re not supposed to have rain this late in the season and cacti are not supposed to play lutes.

But it was all too beautiful to ask why. So I just enjoyed it.


An unseasonably late downpour the night before seemed to have awakened the plants at the botanic garden.
Dramatic combinations of succulents and cacti turn up where you least expect them. 

2 thoughts on “Tuning in to the cacti

  1. Indeed, my friend. It was raining again last night. As they say in Spanish, “No hay mal que por bien no venga.” 'Mal' for you guys on the west coast, 'bien' for us, in the middle of the country.al


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