Monday, September 21, 2009

The Last Whiff of Summer ...

Today is the last day of SUMMER. What will be your "last summer whiff?" :)

That's right. The last whiff. A fleeting aroma that the last days of summer bring to you, to store away in your memory when the leaves are gone and the sky is gray and the steering wheel is cold to the touch. It feels like it's been raining so long in the Southeast that any of my usual favorite "last whiffs" have been washed out. Well, I'm thankful we aren't in a drought, and the sun will shine ... "tomorrow IS another day" (to quote Scarlett O'Hara). So I have to reach back a few weeks for my last lingering whiff, but it was a sweet one. Let me share it....=

While sitting on the back deck with Jeff, one of the breezes that was bringing in these rainy days came along to toss the woods around. As it did, it stirred the trees and released the most fragrant, floral smell. At first glance it's hard to see where it comes from, but closer inspection reveals the source: KUDZU.

Now if you're from the Southeast, don't hit the "back" button on your screen out of irritation, just yet. Kudzu has been called "The vine that ate that South." It's also said that folks in Georgia have to close their windows (winders) at night, just so that kudzu doesn't creep in and carry them off. :) It was actually first brought here in 1876 in celebration of the 100th birthday of the US. First ornamental and appreciated for its wide leaves, dangling blossoms, and sweet smell, it was then discovered to make good feed for animals in the 1920s, used to prevent erosion in the 1930s, and and farmers were even paid incentives to plant it in the 1940s. Ah, but they were fooled.

In 1972 the USDA saw past the kudzu blossom jelly and kudzu vine baskets and fried kudzu leaves (I did not make that up ... click here just to see one source) and called it what it is: A weed. It now covers over 7 million acres of the Southeast (I say over, because it has continued since my source last wrote), growing as much as a foot a night in the summer. If your summer took you along highways or byways of the Southeast this summer, you likely drove right past kudzu covered poles and hillsides, and you probably very nearly got 'et up (that's in honor of my West Va. roots) as you drove by.

So, what's your last whiff of summer, and what will it remind you of when you're shivering in a fleece blanket in, oh, just 3 months from now? My last whiff will remind me that sometimes something smells sweet, but it's really just an evil weed waiting 'til I go to sleep. Chew on that.

Blessings to you as we say goodbye to one season and embrace a new one .....

1 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Kristi_runwatch said...

we are so easily deceived by outward appeal, aren't we?

fried kudzu... interesting :)