Retrospective View of Poison Oak

There is nothing quite like returning in the afternoon to a place where you’d been cutting brush earlier that morning and noticing for the first time a big shiny oily bunch of poison oak waving at you from behind a fresh manzanita stump. How could I not see that monster this morning when I was face to face within inches of it? How do you miss something like that?

All my clothes into a big soapy wash with cold water and me into a big cold soapy shower, brooding on the potential symptoms to come…

Things work out best for the visitor if one is always on the lookout for snakes and poison oak. When walking about or working, I am always on the lookout for the stuff.

And yet how many times have I bushwhacked a stretch and then climbed a stump to take a look around only to look down to see the bunch of poison oak I’d just walked through.

And the moment of stark realization that you’re covered with poison oak oil in a number of places, summed up by those timeless words: well, I’m fucked.

And then proceeding to whatever is possible to mitigate the fuckedness.




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