I don’t know if you have ever gotten personally involved with a prickly pear cactus up close, but it is an exceedingly unpleasant experience. The big thorns hurt and will poke you deeply, but they are fairly easy to remove. It is the little bitty thorns that seem to multiply in your skin and are almost impossible to remove even with a steady hand, a magnifying glass and a good pair of tweezers.
But then I read in westerns that people used prickly pear cactus for a water source and I wonder how they did it. I have tasted prickly pear jelly and it was good, but again I wonder who harvested it and how. somebody had to get at least a few thorns in them, because those little ones seem to jump off the cactus into your skin whether you touch them or not.
No real point to make, but I do love looking at and taking pictures of cactus flowers. they are so bright and beautiful that my camera has trouble digesting the yellows without blowing out the exposure. Why in the world would God make something so pretty in the middle of such vicious thorns?
several possible metaphors come to mind, but my sleepy brain can’t work any of them through to a satisfying ending. maybe you guys can come up with something.