"No good deed goes unpunished" has been attributed to several famous people, so I will just agree. When I should be running around, preparing for Thanksgiving, I am in misery with a major case of poison ivy. I don't know how long this lasts, but so far the Cortizone cream and Benadryl are keeping it from driving me absolutely crazy; but this is day one.
It's okay, though, in a surreal sort of way. The pleasure that left me with this punishment was worth it. I am in training as a Blair Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary volunteer. I have conducted several tours since writing Ghost Orchid and was quite familiar with the general flora and fauna of the swamp. However, there were gaps. Until this training, several categories were not broken down. One example is ferns. Now I know there are Boston Ferns, Rabbit's Foot Ferns, Royal Ferns, Leather ferns, and more. My eyes are more open to enjoy the nuances of difference and the diversity that makes the Everglades an even more exotic and mysterious place.
Besides guiding folks wandering about the swamp, volunteers also do a few chores. I had the chance to wander onto boardwalks reserved for special purposes and not available to the public. I discovered that Corkscrew Swamp has an outdoor classroom with a theater and steps from the boardwalk to the swampy water. This discovery was made while pushing a broom. Yes, autumn does arrive in Florida. The cypress leaves, maple leaves and pine needles gather on the boardwalk. Rain turns them into "swamp ice" for the unwary walker. I spent three hours sweeping like Cinderella, enjoying the special privilege of a special place and pouring my energy into the swishing broom.
I think I swept several miles of boardwalk, swinging one broom back and forth and pushing another. I thought of all the people who would not feel their feet slipping thanks to my labors. I enjoyed the birds calling, the little raccoon following on the boardwalk and the giant gator quietly swimming along side the boardwalk. My body ached with unused muscles and I felt enriched. It was an honor to contribute labor to the place I love.
Well, it was an honor until today. I am on red, swollen fire. I had added those poison ivy leaves growing profusely off the boardwalk to my collection of plant names, along with the aster and the bladderwort and the golden primrose willow. Apparently, those leaves I was so energetically sweeping included poison ivy and I am susceptible. Would I sweep with such vigor if I knew the end result would be today's misery? Yes. Those places previously hidden from my view possess beauty and wonder that transcends the fire hot poison ivy. I was the intruder into their domain. I wonder if there's a way to prevent poision ivy? I can't stay away from my swamp.
Causes DK Christi Supports