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What sunrise looks like from a desert mountainside...
The previous day as we patrolled the acreage, we had noticed a tall saguaro on its last leg. It was leaning precariously, had lost most of its spines, and was top-heavy from three days' worth of rains, after a 16-month drought, when it soaked up far more than it could support in its weakened state. It was probably 175-200 years old. The "tangled antler" sound the night before was the sound of the ribs cracking and giving way. You can see in the photo how the black rot had already run through the whole cactus.
It had been nearly thirty feet tall, with one very long arm. A shame, but it did have a long life -- probably twice as long as I'll live, even if I live to be as old as granny.

I'm glad we were there when it happened; how many people have ever heard the natural death of a saguaro?

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