Most people growing up in the south know about Kudzu, Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr. var. lobata (Wild.) Maesen & S. M. Almeida. Some really bright government types brought it to the south from Japan for erosion control. See, we in the south were too stupid to stop gullies and other kinds of erosion. So the government decided to help us. It turns out that the plant did not stop erosion, water continued to run down hill under the plant. And the plant turns out to be a rather aggressive, invasive species. It kills other plants. Kudzu will over run trees scrubs, barns, tractors, houses, cars, anything that is left in its path. Cows will eat it but as soon as they move on, the Kudzu returns.
I happen to like erosion. As a child I loved playing in gullies that were so big you could hide a house or two in. In fact, once we hid an old barn in a gully. The wind blew down the barn and we just pushed it into the gully and forgot about it. We did use a bulldozer to do the pushing. Gullies are great places for a boy to play. They can become anything, mountains, the Grand Canyon, an obstacle course. But it is an obvious waste of land and it is poor ecology. We found that the best way to deal with a gully was to bulldoze it in and plant grass on it. It usually worked. On a few occasions, some clown on a motorcycle would ride up our freshly planted hills of recently converted gullies and leave ruts. Those ruts quickly turned into gullies. It was generally some city boy hunting where he had no business or permission.
Years ago, some folk tried to come up with recipes for Kudzu. I thought of one. Take a piece of goat cheese, a few dried herbs of your choice and a slice of sun-dried tomato on top. You might even add a slice of Prosciuto, or Salami. Wrap it in a Kudzu leaf and bake it until the cheese is nice and hot. (Yes, this is very traditional southern cooking) This way you donâ€™t have to eat the leaf nor the worm that may be living in it as the time. I have to admit that I stole the recipe and it was intended originally for use with grape vines leaves. But, vine leaves and vine leaves, right?
One good thing that I remember about Kudzu, it provided an isolated hang out for White Tail Deer. No more than 50 feet from my motherâ€™s house was a stand of trees covered by Kudzu. My brother and I walked in there one day to find that it was a deer bedroom. It looked like 20 or so deer must have slept there. And no, this is no exaggeration, it is not unusual to see 20 or so deer wandering around my motherâ€™s yard.
Opinions are a lot like Kudzu. They grow wild, have the best intentions but occasionally do more harm than good. Almost everyone has them. And most of the time, opinions make the world go around. I decided to sit under the shade of an invasive pant and share my opinions with friends and anyone else who cares to read them. I know I will make some folk mad, I always do. But I figured that everyone was offering their wacky ideas, I might as well offer mine.
In the Bible, the vine was often a symbol of the good life. The biblical vision of the ideal life was that every man sat under his own tree and his own vineâ€“just enjoying the fruit of his labor. God once used a vine to teach Jonah a lesson. I hope that my vine is a place to enjoy life. But I already know that certain things irritate me and I intend to comment on them. On those days, maybe I am waiting for the fireworks as did Jonah. I hope that God does not send a worm to kill my vine. On the other hand, some things need to be said I hope I can say them. I just hope that my writing habits are not as prolific as Kudzu. That could be a waste of time.
For those who want to know more: