|A QUIET MORNING THAT LOOKS LIKE RAIN|
Ever get poison ivy? I seldom do, but I don’t tempt fate, and keep my distance. An old and pretty effective remedy for alleviating the rash and itch of poison ivy is the mucilaginous sap of the jewelweed, or touch-me-not. We have two native species, the yellow flowered Impatiens pallida, and the red flowered I. capensis, both in the Impatiens family and evidently equally effective herbs. There is also a garden impatiens, known as balsam flower, but I do not know if it has the same healing power as the wild plants, which are pretty common in ditches and wet areas. Once one knows the plant it is easy to recognize in its habitat.
An interesting and entertaining characteristic of these plants are the “exploding” seed pods, which is why they are called “touch me not,” and from which the genus gets the name Impatiens. When the seed pods are ripe, the slightest touch will send the seeds shooting out of the pods a considerable distance, like little cannon balls, much to the the delight of children young and old.
I think the Impatiens should be our national flower, for impatience is certainly a primary aspect of the national character. It is not always bad to be impatient, but it is a great detriment to good political judgment. No time to read the bill, we’ll find out what’s in it when we pass it. No time to debate, let’s pass a continuing resolution. The press is out there asking about the crisis, think of something to say. The markets are uneasy, do something…anything. Our polls show we’re down…maybe it will help to throw a big party with a lot of celebrities.
Our constitution established a republic, not a pure democracy, because the Founding Fathers understood the impatience of democracy and its tendency to dissolve into irresolute bickering and waring factions. We have now come full circle and insist that the people we elect to high office do our immediate bidding, instead of using their own best judgment, as a republic demands.
Instead of electing the best possible representatives to high office in the republic we often elect those who have no better judgment, wisdom or knowledge than ourselves, that are carbon copies (or even damaged copies) of ourselves; and that is a sure route to disaster.