It is hard to explain
how this tiny cactus
has gained its place
among this base of rotting leaves
and the mass of things
that green the floor of this forest
crowning the bluffs along Elk City Lake.
It seems entirely out of place,
especially on this day of mud and clay
following heavy rains
that have washed new cuts
and deepened the old ones
running along the roots
of oak and elm, hickory and ash
and the heavy-knurled bark of hackberry.
On those other days
when south Kansas summers
send hot winds that wilt trees,
this tiny cactus might seem more at home.
Something this small and alone
will have to hold on
to what it can find of dry and hot
if it is to survive this spot.
Although I have heard
that we were meant to thrive,
sometimes simply staying alive
through one more day
seems like enough of a challenge
and I believe it is possible
to occasionally find ourselves
in a place where we were not meant to be
for the rest of our days.
And though I have sometimes
found myself an odd thing
and have lived now
in nearly thirty different places,
I have yet to find one
where I could not seek the face of God
or lack a\some way in which to serve Him.