Inspiration and Life Lessons from “Leaves of Three…”

October 7, 2013 9:18 pm

I was out on a nature trail, with a friend and former co-worker fairly recently, talking about native and naturalized plants.  She pointed to a plant by my foot and asked in a slightly worrisome voice if it was poison ivy.  I told her I was not one hundred percent certain, but if a plant has “leaves of three, let it be.”  Poison ivy, oak, and sumac are all potentially toxic. That was a perfectly good answer and I should have stopped talking right then and there, but I did not.

“I have never had poison ivy,” I said somewhat boastfully, “I could lay in it and not suffer ill effect.”

If I had been listening, I would have heard the good Lord say “Well, well, well.”

A few weeks later, while in Pennsylvania, guess what?  I have the most irritating rash from my ankles to my chin.  Six weeks, an ocean of calamine lotion, a gazillion dollar per ounce tube of Zanfell, and a box of Benadryl later, I am a much more humble gardener.   I have real empathy for everyone who has ever had (or ever will have) a reaction to these plants   And I am inspired to learn about a plant in a way I have never been before, because I plan on never getting poison ivy again!

Did I just hear laughter?


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