Cactus Flowers

Gigantic Cactus Flowers That Only Bloom One Day a Year

The Argentine Giant Cactus only blooms its mammoth-sized flowers for one day in an entire year. You never know what colors the flowers are going to be—some are pink, some are white, others are yellow—nor when they are going to make their brief appearance. As my husband and I took our daily “shelter in place” walk around our neighborhood last spring, I kept an eye out for this particular cactus, hoping to catch any buds that had begun to form.

One day, I was fortunate to spot some magnificent yellow buds on a plant in someone else’s yard. I returned several times over the next 10 hours, checking to see if I could get lucky enough to see them in bloom. Sure enough, just before sunset, these beauties appeared and I was able to capture some images of them in the golden afternoon light before they withered down to colorless, crumbling petals the following day.

Keeping with my newfound tradition of seeking out people to whom I can gratuitously send photos, I found the information I needed about the owners of the house and I e-mailed them the picture that is featured here. I was both delighted and saddened to hear about their story and the impact it had on them. It turns out that the couple who lived in this home have been married for many years. Unfortunately, the woman is suffering from a multitude of debilitating illnesses, which forced them to put their house up for sale and move to a single-level home that could better accommodate her needs. Her husband wrote to me and told me how she had mentioned to him how much she wished they had a photo of the Argentine Giant Cactus flowers from their former yard so that she could hang it in their new home as a memory of more fortunate times, but they had missed their opportunities to capture any images prior to moving.

Once again, the mission of Changing Focus Photography proved the powerful link between photography and mental health…and the metaphor of this particular story is hard to miss. Oftentimes, recovery from depression starts with recognizing the ability to experience moments of joy until you achieve the capacity to feel more sustained periods of happiness. Recovery is a process that doesn’t occur overnight, so embracing any “ups”—especially when those who struggle with depression have only experienced prolonged “downs”—is critical to finding hope again, even if those ups only last moments, or in this case, a single day!

T.L. Wilson

T.L. Wilson (formerly Terry Wise) has lived through a myriad of personal and professional lives, each of which has led her to the same place, with the same purpose: to provide hope and inspiration to others. Terry is the author of Waking Up: Climbing Through the Darkness, a book that offers a road map to emotional health to people who are faced with a diversity of life’s challenges (grief, depression, suicidality). Terry served on the boards of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the American Association of Suicidology and spent a decade delivering keynote speeches in every state in the United States. After happily re-marrying in 2010, Terry wrote a novel, Viewer Indiscretion, penned under the name T.L. Wilson. Terry’s most recent endeavor as a photographer is to capture and share the beauty of the world around us through a different lens—a camera lens. It is her belief that recovery from mental health challenges is achieved incrementally and it is her hope that each image will provide doses of joy to the eye and warmth to the heart. Her mission is to make the world a better place one book at a time, one word at a time and now…one photograph at a time. To view more images, please visit