One morning, as I stood on my porch, I noticed some plants growing under the tree nearest the house. I walked closer and looked down to see a vine with reddish leaves in groups of three. “Oh no, I have Poison Ivy growing right in front of the house!” I cried.
When I was a kid, I had seemed to be immune to the stuff, running through greenbriar without thought of the weed, but as I got older, I became more and more sensitive to it. I was so allergic, it seemed that my skin would break out just because it was growing nearby! To have poison ivy growing so close to my house, up to my doorstep in fact, was an affront. “What have I done to deserve this curse?” I thought. But there was nothing to be done that day. I had work to do, and so I let it be.
Weeks went by, and I frowned every morning when I saw it. Someone was out to get me. Nature hated me. The poison ivy had been put there just to ruin my day. I finally went to the hardware store and bought the strongest herbicide that they had. I was going to kill the poison ivy, and rid my doorstep of this blight.
As I stood there in my boots and heavy gloves ready to kill all that was before me, I noticed an array of pretty white flowers. White flowers? I didn’t remember that being a characteristic of poison ivy. White berries, yes, but large five-petaled flowers, no. I put down the herbicide and walked inside to search online for the plant.
Poison ivy has greenish flowers with large yellow stamens. The flowers grow on stalks, not in ones and twos, so I searched for flowers that looked like it. (It had reminded me of a wild rose.) When I found it, I breathed in, surprised. That was not poison ivy on my doorstep. It was a vine of blackberries! In a few short weeks, I would have a host of beautiful, edible berries close enough to my door that I could reach out on my way to work and fill my mouth and my life with a daily dose of sweetness. It was a beautiful thing. How sad it was that I had feared and hated it for so long.
I had hated the plant for weeks. I actively sought its demise, because I thought that it was dangerous. Instead, it was a blessing in disguise. If I had only taken a closer look, I would have woken each day to a happy anticipation instead of hatred and fear.
It makes me wonder. How many of the things around us would be blessings, if we would only look a bit closer.