Friday, July 16, 2010

It Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time

Clearing brush from that boggy patch behind my friend's place seemed like a good idea at the time. He isn't one of those fussy property owners, who won't rest until their place looks like it came from a cover of one of those 'House Wonderful' magazines.

On the other hand, he figured that he'd mind the smell less, when the wind was from that direction, if the dark, dank, green growths started a bit farther back from the house.

So, last Friday I pulled in the driveway of a place that's between the Twin Cities and Duluth, more or less. This column will be a bit vague about names and locations, by request.

I figured I'd lend a hand until one or the other of us figured we'd done a day's work. The idea was that I'd spend Saturday and Sunday fishing around a lake about an hour's drive from there.

We made good progress, hacking our way through everything from some kind of low-growing vine to a stand of smallish trees or shrubs. Most of them were a bit taller than I am, with smooth gray bark. The leaves were pretty, with red stems.

I was ready to quit by sunset, but we kept going until we had a hard time seeing the trees.

Then, around midnight, my hands and arms started itching.

Those trees were poison sumac.

I'm okay, and so is my friend: but I'm still typing with very thick, soft gloves on.

More about poison sumac.

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