Monday, November 03, 2008

A Joy or Noxious?

This white clematis has popular names as varied as Virgin's Bower, Old Man's Beard and Traveller's Joy. It has also been put on the list of noxious weeds for its habit of climbing aggressively over bushes and trees and smothering the undergrowth. There are examples of this tendency on Crescent Avenue near Park Avenue, where the flowers have faded and the feathery seed coverings now cover the shrubbery.

Whether something is good or bad certainly depends on the circumstances. This plant apparently has the means to spread widely without interference. Some of our habits as a nation have similarly run rampant and now what was desirable (quick money on a gamble) is seen to have noxious effects (financial meltdown). What could have been stopped early on was not, and now we are seeing the effects.

In the state of Washington, groups form to eradicate noxious invasives such as English ivy, holly and even butterfly bush. These once lovable plants are now the enemy.

Today might be a good time to take a walk and think about our national outlook and its parallels in the natural world. What have we introduced and accepted into our thinking that now proves to be harmful?

Undoing the harm is going to require a lot of study and effort. Whoever wins tomorrow will have to lead us to a better way of conducting ourselves as a nation.

Take a walk and think about this juncture in our history. And get to the polls tomorrow and vote. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

--Bernice Paglia


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