This picture of poison ivy provides visual verification for the rhyme, 'Leaflets three, let it be.'

Poison Ivy

Oh the friends we make in life.  Some are so natural and so self revealing that you can’t help but bond and cling and long for their company.  Some appear so docile and beneficial that you just don’t imagine that any danger could lurk beneath the surface.
But then there are others; those who present themselves in colorful arrays, displaying the wares of kindness only to leave behind a virulent residue that will continue to burn and irritate long after their actual presence has been tossed on the fire and burned from your life.  I know you have all experienced this kind of relationship.  What first appears to be a welcome addition to your life soon reveals it’s true self becoming a threatening poison-laden encounter that you must violently extract lest it overtake you and consume your every wakening moment.
Poison Sumac
Picture of poison sumac leaves.
Why the metaphors you ask?  OK, I’ll tell you.  Not the metaphorical, but the literal poison-ivy is consuming my every thought.  A couple hours of routine yard work a week and a half ago has turned into a constant and ever present reminder of why I (outdoor lover that I am) must always be on my guard when I am out in the woods.  I am so highly allergic to poison ivy in all it’s forms that I go to great lengths to avoid the little bitch plant at all costs.  I have studied live samples and pictures and am constantly on the look out to avoid this predatory plant lying in wait in it’s self-protective mode ready to pounce on my unsuspecting flesh.
Poison Oak
Maybe it’s just me, please tell me if you have this same experience.  I find these three dangerous plants to be very much like many people that I cross in my life.  Unlike my favorite loather of humanity I tend to love all people, give them the benefit of the doubt, and generally find good in everyone.  But I have to qualify that statement by saying that for some, and I do believe they are in the minority, like the beautiful poisonous plants pictured above, their beauty and goodness can only be taken so far.  I’m sure you have heard the Arabian proverb “keep your friends close — hold your enemies closer.”  Like the caustic vines of poison ivy you cannot afford to turn your back or your attention away for some who try to get close to you.  You must know a man to know his intentions.  You must get close to a man to hear his beating heart.  Some times it is only within an enemies embrace that you will discover the unsheathed dagger.
So in the meantime while I am trying to figure out who my true friends and enemies are, I am slathering on the calamine lotion and trying my best not to claw the flesh from my bones while the remnants of this cursed poison ivy rash runs it’s course.  Both arms, both sides of my body, one leg.  You know if you’ve had it.  Constant misery.  Another reminder of a lesson yet to be fully learned.