Tuesday, June 13, 2017
I worked in my yard last Saturday, trimming bushes and pruning trees. I also pulled some weeds and vines from the ground to create more space for other plants. We have several beautiful flowering plants and trees. I wanted to display their beauty more effectively. As I worked, I remembered that last year I had had my first bout with poison ivy in about forty years and regretted having not chosen to wear a long-sleeved shirt or jacket. The temperature was about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so I dismissed the thought. I ignored the lessons learned from previous experiences. After I finished my tasks, I changed clothes and went for a three mile walk/run. Despite the heat, I enjoyed the exercise and the scenery I encountered along the way. By the time I finished, I was quite sweaty. After I cleaned up, I dressed so that my wife and I might dine at a favorite Mexican restaurant near our home. To my chagrin, while we were dining, I noticed tell-tale signs of inflammation on my arms. Actually, I noticed the itching first. I had a rather wide-spread rash on my arms and the edge of one eyelid (not the eye, fortunately). Three days later, I've endured quite some discomfort because I ignored my prior experience and did not prepare properly to prune and weed. In gardens, beautiful plants sometimes have exasperatingly effective means of protecting themselves. Failing to watch for them and to prepare for encounters with them can be quite uncomfortable, or perhaps even deadly to some with severe allergies. In life, too, what seems often most attractive is most damaging. We must prepare for our encounters and get to know people, situations, and plants well before we suffer unnecessarily.