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An Ironwood Tree and a Saguaro Ask Gary for Help in Conflict Resolution

Gary: Okay, okay, I know you are both sensitive about what has happened between you, but let us see if we can find common ground….

Ironwood: Common ground? I have offered to share my ground with this little upstart not long after his germination. I served as his nurse for over thirty years, protecting him from heat, drought, sunburn, freezes and furry creatures. And what do I get in return? He throws his roots out right over mine and sucks up all the water I would otherwise receive. Now I am dying of thirst!

Gary: Now, now let us try to keep accusations out of the conversation. Just tell me how you feel, not what you think he has done.

Ironwood: I feel like I am dying of thirst because of that young upstart who is guzzling away all the soil moisture after each rain!

Gary: Well now, that was a little step in the right direction. I listened and I am sure the saguaro here listened. I hear your pain, your thirst. But let us listen to the saguaro, to hear if there might be other sides to the story.

Saguaro: I mean, like, sure I remember when I was a kid and nursed me. I mean, it is not like I am not grateful. But, like, she just keeps hovering over me, trying to shade me out. Like, I got no room to move. It makes me kind of zenophobic.

Gary: Excuse me, do you mean claustrophobic?

Saguaro: Yeah, that one. Like I am feel sick of being claused-in with no room to grow.

Gary: Well, that is just wonderful that you used feel rather than think as your verb, and you did not attempt to disparage your former nurse.

Saguaro: Yeah but her hovering over me makes me want to puke…

Ironwood: That’s enough out of you, you spineless cactus!

Gary: I am sorry, but I feel we all need a time out now. Saguaro, you go over to that bajada and see if you can mature for another couple years before you come back. Ironwood, if you stay here on the edge of the arroyo, I want you to do some self-pruning and shed some of your old branches to make room for others in this space.

Saguaro: Isn’t that just like a human to offer advice that no one can possibly achieve?

Ironwood: Yeah, I don’t know who they think they are. They go around like they are the spittIn’ image of the Creator herself! Frankly, I think we are closer to God than humans are…

Saguaro: You can say that again, grannie!


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