A young saguaro develops under the indifferent but indispensable care of a nurse tree, most often a palo verde (Cercidium spp.), desert ironwood (Olneya tesota), or mesquite (Prosopis spp.). The nurse tree shelters the saguaro from extreme heat and frost, and from foraging animals. It takes 25 years on average for the cactus to grow a foot high. As it matures and develops its first arms at between 50 to 100 years of age, the saguaro may sap enough water and nutrients from the surrounding soil to kill off its aging nurse.
Days like this I forget how much I'm failing. I leave my building tonight and walk towards my darker lot. The thousand black crows rise at once from the trees and descend, terrible again. It's the so many invisible sound of their wings, it's how they live.