I enjoy the treasures of nature – its woods, the peace, birds calling to each other. Yet there’s one drawback — somehow I always manage to stumble into poison ivy. I’m convinced that, like the trees in the movie “Avatar,” its roots communicate underground, sending a message to the nearest patch to attack me.
Some people can spot poison ivy in a flash. I can’t tell until it’s too late. Yes, I know the adage “if it’s three, let it be,” meaning that poison ivy has three leaves so I should recognize it. But when there are just a few leaves underneath, intermingled with a huge bunch of other plants, how can I tell? It’s not like it has neon colors that cry out a warning. Which, when you think about it, would only be fair. I mean, aren’t certain plants supposed to have defense mechanisms so animals don’t eat them? Like those colorful poison dart frogs.in rain forests. Snakes know not to eat them. Besides, my eyes aren’t peeled to the ground watching every step, and I don’t inspect every tree for the climbing kind before leaning against it — you kind of lose the enjoyment of hiking when you do that.
One day, my friend Debbie and I decided to take a hike. Fearful of being overcome by poison ivy, I soaked myself in repellent, wore long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and pulled the tops of my socks over my pants. I was taking all precautions, determined that not one poison ivy molecule would enter my pores.
“Uh, did you know you’re standing in a patch of poison ivy?” asked Debbie.
“Where?” I frantically looked around.
“You see that teeny, tiny, miniscule plant in the middle of that lush bunch of other plants?”
“Why didn’t you warn me before I stepped into it?” I cried.
“I thought you knew the adage, “if it’s three, let it —”
“Yes, I know!” I exclaimed. I was doomed. Even if I used latex gloves when removing my apparel and boiled my clothes, I knew I’d succumb.
Several days later, purplish splotches appeared on my arm. Soon those splotches began to itch. If you’ve never had poison ivy, you can’t imagine how itchy it can get. And you’re not supposed to scratch it, either. That’s like putting a cow in front of a lion and telling him not to touch it. The lotion I’d put on, advertised to “stop the itching of poison ivy in its tracks,” was useless I refrained for as long as possible.
“Arrrggghghhh!” I finally yelled and started scratching.
Finally, I went to the doctor, who prescribed steroids. They worked like a charm, Although they made me a bit irritable, they also gave me almost super-human strength. I am considering becoming a bad-tempered super-hero who goes around rescuing hapless hikers. And with my super-hero eyes that can shoot laser beams, I could fly around frying patches of this wicked weed.
Well, something good should come out of it.