Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Leaves Of Three, Let Them Be

Poison Ivy as it typically appears during the summer.
"Leaves of three, let them be." There's a lot of wisdom in those words.

The phrase, of course, is referring to poison ivy, which is not only common in New Jersey forests, but at our beloved shore as well. The theory behind this prudent advice is that if a particular plant or vine has clusters of three leaves and you're uncertain as to whether or not it's poison ivy, you'd be better off to err on the safe side and not find out the hard way.

When I was a boy scout during my earlier years, we spent our share of time identifying and avoiding this poisonous plant. The lessons I learned have kept my cases of PI to a minimum throughout my life, however, when Chris Martalus and I were doing some serious bushwacking to get upriver and catch some more fish last Saturday, taking my time to make sure I wasn't interacting with any poison ivy was the last thing on my mind.

As a direct result, I sit here typing with no less than a half-dozen pale pink splotches of medicated anti-itch cream on my arms, fingers and legs.

It's pretty uncomfortable, to say the least.

I did know some basic facts about poison ivy reactions, which may be why my current discomfort is not more severe. Like almost anything else, however, the amount of bad information regarding this condition is almost endless. I would strongly encourage anyone who reads this and then encounters a similar situation to use the information on the following site and not what their best friend told them in the 8th grade.

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