I once tried to paint a picture of a cereus in its various stages - bud, opening bloom, full bloom. Very daunting. But it was fun trying.
When I was growing up in Tampa, back in the Fifties, my grandparents had a Night Blooming Cereus, growing up a tall pine in their yard. They kept a careful watch on it and alerted friends as the night of blooming drew near. When the night finally came, folks would gather in the yard at dusk, sitting in lawn chairs and staring up to count the blossoms -- one memorable year there were 92. My grandmother would serve coffee and dessert and people would talk quietly as darkness fell. It was a hushed and magical time, waiting for this promised beauty.
And then, when the moment was right, my grandfather would turn a spotlight on the tree. All up and down its tall gray-brown trunk, the pale pink buds would be open, revealing their pearly interiors and spilling that amazing fragrance into the hot summer night.
And all the people would say, Ahhhh !