Aging Agaves Become A Mirror

Finding My Own Aging, Reflected In Nature

GE McKerrihan
4 min readMar 9


Close up of Agave center stalk.
“A Dark Death at the Center” — Image by Author

The long dry season in Oaxaca is approaching its end point. The ten day forecast calls for rain in half of these days. There is a shifting in the skies above.

Like the weather in the States north of here, this seems out of sync with what are considered normal weather patterns in this part of the world. Welcome to the new normal, which translates as, unpredictable.

Close up of fallen growth.
“A Broad Leave Holds The Remains” — Image by Author

This story is not about the weather. The intro above was written in an effort to set the stage, for my observations from this morning. It has been a week or so since I last visited with the Agaves on the grounds of Santo Domingo de Guzman Cathedral.

I walk through this area regularly, though I don’t always stop in to chat with the Agaves. In passing I have noted how many of these Agaves are growing those tall, slender center stalks.

At times these stalks seem to gain a couple of feet in height in the same number of days. I would guess that at least two thirds of the specimens in this garden, are growing these center stalks.

A long view showing the height of the center stalks.
“Perspective View” — Image by Author

I am including this image, because it gives a sense of scale. The tallest stalk here reaches the top of a second story window. Looking close, one can see four of these stalks in this photo.

You can also see that several of the Agaves do not have these center stalks. Though about half of the specimens in this photo are growing them.

I first experienced this Agave garden in February of 2018. At that time, this garden was full of Agaves. The population today is easily a third of what it was then. I can only guess that they were originally all planted at the same time.

At least a third of what I found here a year ago upon my arrival, is now gone. By this time next year, the remaining beauties will represent about twenty percent of what I saw on that very first visit, five years ago.



GE McKerrihan

I’ve been using the camera for nearly 50 years. I write about Photography, Art, Travel, and Life. Top Writer in Photography, Art, Creativity, and Inspiration.