Before I begin, I’d like to preface this blog with a few details, not to steer you in one direction or another, or prematurely give away the subject matter. Typically, the focus of this blog is referred to in the feminine form, and it’s been portrayed as a villain in comics and movies. Now let’s begin.
I can be found in North America and Asia but I’m not fond of the desert or arid areas, or ones of high altitude. I’m all in favor of higher carbon dioxide levels and over the years my population has increased, doubling since the 1960’s.
I really have no boundaries. Sometimes I can be found in the suburbs in your backyards or rural and remote areas. I’m subtle in my appearance, no flashy colors to signify my potential wrath. In fact, I blend in quite nicely in my surroundings and I can change colors, again to blend into my background, disguising me even more.
I don’t discriminate, my reach can effect the old and young, male or female. All are equal in my eyes.
Normally, when playing such a game, the guesser, gets to ask if it’s a person, place, or thing.
Hint: It’s a thing. I hope that doesn’t spoil the fun too much. Moving on.
I’m somewhat shade tolerant but prefer the sunlight. I’m recognized more when I choose the company of trees, as opposed to my other forms. I’m smooth and shiny on the surface with a woody stem, void of any thorns or indicators of what I can do.
Hint: Yes, I am a plant!
Unbeknownst to some, I don’t have a defensive mechanism. What is assumed as me fighting back, is really a means to help me retain water. I don’t intentionally try to be mean, it’s simply nature.
Besides some insects, birds, deer and bear, who eat my seeds and berries, I’m very unwelcome. Although there is a rare, and very lucky fifteen to thirty percent of the human population who doesn’t have an issue with me, nor I them. However, that can change over time, as one ages or changes environments.
I leave my invisible presence, urushiol, on everything I come in contact with and it can remain for several years, reintroducing my legacy, even in the winter.
Now one of the biggest clues …
I’m recognized by my leaves of three. I have a couple names, one being oxicodendron radicans, but I’m commonly know by another. And despite my widely used name, I’m not a hedera.
I think those clues are substantial enough for an educated guess. And those who have come in contact with this subject matter might have a few more choice words for this plant.
Who am I?
Yes, poison ivy! With my recent run-ins with this silent irritant, I’m trying to make light of it. Although, with every exposure, my allergic reaction is getting worse. This time, I have blisters on top of blisters, on top of blisters, between my fingers, down to the webbing. My hands are so swollen and irritated, it’s hard to bend my fingers. I have Mickey Mouse hands! Naturally, that’s not the only place the reaction has appeared, although I can handle it on my arms, neck, legs and stomach, even in my belly button! A small amount made its appearance on my left eye and eyebrow, nose, ears, and upper lip. I can even handle the skin irritation behind my knees, but my hands actually hurt from the pressure and every time I bump my hand against a corner, pain.
Where did I get it? No clue, at least not this time. My first run-in with my nemeses of the season was basically intentional. I knew fully well of my actions. You see, I wanted to plant an asparagus garden at my parent’s house. The best plot of land was among a group of locus trees, covered in … poison ivy. Dad killed most of the poison ivy on the trees, but to be sure, I wanted to get this plant at its heart, or more accurately it roots.
Protecting myself in clothing from head to toe, I ripped up the poison ivy from the roots. Yes, I made sure to prewash in cold water and shower in cold water, with harsh soap, and I scrubbed my skin till it was raw. I washed my cloths several times. I even began taking a liquid poison ivy to build my immune system. You name it, I took precaution. Did I get it? Of course, but not terribly bad. Manageable.
This time, I have no clue of my encounter with the poison ivy. To the best of my knowledge, I haven’t been around the nasty plant. I haven’t even been in my asparagus garden! It seems like all I simply need to be, is within feet from the silent creeper to find its affects a few days later.
Hopefully, this cycle will not continue all summer long. But I guess there’s worse things in life, and I’ve yet to go into anaphylaxis. Although I just got word that we are in deed getting honey bees. My cousin Pete is getting a hive ready. Did I mention I’m allergic to yellow jackets? I guess I’ll find out if it’s the same with honey bees.