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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Green (10/22/09)

TITLE: Clothed in Green
By C Harricharan


The great outdoors holds a special appeal to me, like a weather pattern, here today and gone tomorrow. During the cold season I enjoy the beauty of the wonderful pristine white mountains or beautiful winter sunsets from the safety and comfort of indoors, sheltered by insulated glass doors and windows. In the summer and during the warmer days are mostly when the call to the great outdoors really reaches me. I love gardening, and mostly sitting in the sun feeling the wind gently passing by.

This arrangement suited me perfectly, except for the pesky itches, scratches and rashes that usually followed my outdoors excursions. For years I endured the little itches on my arms, legs and neck, which eventually turned into blisters which then became a full blown rash that drives me crazy for several weeks of summer.

I was quite sure that our garden or lawn was home to a very dangerous creature that bites without being seen and was immune to all the insect repellant I could lay hands on, and I do have a cabinet full of them, from “Off Deep woods” to “Burt’s Bees” bug repellant. Nothing worked.

My next challenge was the irritating itch that was constant, then suddenly becomes like a living thing trying to claw out from below my skin. No amount of moaning and anti-itch creams could stop it.

Then suddenly one morning I would wake up and realize that I was cured. The dreaded summer long plague was gone. By then it is usually the end of summer and I would have spent the latter half of summer indoors trying to evade that dreadful creature that cause the itch.

Of course next summer I would forget about it until the first itch appears, by then it will be too late. I remembered studying the bugs and wondering which one was the dreaded much feared itch monster, but I never found it. Even the mosquitoes seemed quite innocent when investigated.

At summer camp one year I joined a group for nature walk every morning. The first day our guide introduced us to a very popular vine that was growing along the trail, climbing the trees stealthily in some places. She said: “ Leaves of three, let them be”. I was fascinated. The emerald green shiny leaves grew in clusters of three and looked so healthy and almost artificial. The very bright shiny surface of the leaf reflects the sunlight quite innocently.

“Stay away from that plant, no matter what, do not touch the leaves!”

I was quite sure that I have seen that plant before so I kept asking questions about it. Everyone in our group seemed familiar with it and was not intimidated, only cautious.

“What is so bad about it?” I asked.

“Nothing right away, but in a few days it would cause a really bad rash. You don’t want to touch Poison Ivy anytime”.

What if you happen to touch it? “Wash and scrub really well with soap and water and Do Not scratch the itch when it appears!”

Still it was not until the following summer as I was weeding my vegetable garden with bare hands and dressed in shorts and sandals that I saw a familiar green shiny three leafed vine again. It was just beginning to climb the fence sneaking through the back mesh from outside. I attacked it without thinking. Every year I cut this vine and yanked it through the fence, then leave it in the weed pile to dry and still the next year it returns!
The tenacity of this green shiny leafed vine annoyed me, I kept thinking about it and how I can get rid of it permanently, then I remembered.

It was like being struck by green lightning, I was dealing with the dreaded Poison Ivy from summer camp last year!

‘Oh, no”, I cried dropping my trowel and crouched down to get a closer look at my dreaded summer enemy!

With great premonition, I rushed to my indoor sanctuary. I scrubbed and washed with trepidation, my heart beating rapidly.

Later sitting at my computer I confirmed my great fear, my stealthy summer enemy was indeed the dreaded “Poison Ivy” vine growing in my backyard. Not an insect, but Urushoil masked in green. The poison found on the green shiny leaves.

Poison Ivy warning should be posted everywhere, how else can we be reminded of the grief and suffering this mighty, shiny green leaf hides in plain sight?

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 11/02/09
oh wow... you suffered so much before you realized it wasn't bugs, but the poison ivy. :) You've made this account very entertaining!
Mary Lou Cook11/02/09
From the first three words,"The great outdoors" I was hooked. I'm an outdoor person as in hiking the great outdoors. How many blame the innocent insects. I felt the turmoil of trying to find a solution to the itchy problem. Nice job.
Colin Swann11/02/09
What an interesting take on the topic. Really well written and creative. Enjoyed! Colin
Dan Blankenship 11/02/09
Itching good work!

Enjoyed reading this.

May God bless and keep you creating such good writing.

Dan Blankenship