Posted by Kerry McFall, June 6, 2017
The Willamette Valley is gearing up for hordes of ecllipse watchers, due August 21, 2017. We’ve put our house up for an AirBnB gig that weekend, planning to stay with friends and share the proceeds. It’s all very exciting, unless you’re a worry wart like me. Why worry? Human nature, of course!
Everybody knows by now that you mustn’t look directly at the sun as it slowly darkens. Use your special eclipse glasses. Duh. But what are the chances that any of these out-of-towners will have sense enough to stay on the trail when they go tromping up Bald Hill or Mary’s Peak or Fitton Green to get the Very Best View on the planet of this total solar eclipse? Slim. What are the chances that they have a clue what poison oak looks like? Or that they have an inkling what the potential is for a very Itchy Weekend? Oh, dear. So in the spirit of civic-mindedness and being a good hostess, I’m posting my warnings early:
- Even if you know the old rhyme, “Leaves of three, beware of me!”, stay on the trail! Poison Oak is difficult to identify, and it’s everywhere – climbing up trees, hiding in the blackberry vines, crawling on the ground, slinking along under the grass, pretending to be a shrub. It has an eerie ability to blend in to whatever it’s near, so you’ll see it in various shades of greens with leaves sized and shaped to match its neighbors. Even the bare stems can cause the rash – sorry, kids, don’t pick up sticks.
- Keep your dog on a leash, and give him a bath as soon as you get home. The oils from the leaves will get on his fur, and transfer to you the minute you touch him. Don’t be hugging him in the car on the way home!
- If you’re silly enough to wear shorts, take a bath the minute you can get to a tub. Use strong, old-fashioned soap and lots of it. And put your socks in the laundry right away.
- Don’t even think about a Commemorative Eclipse Roll in the Hay! Keep your clothes on and stay upright – there will be too many spectators for hijinks anyway. I know of one young lady who spent nearly a week swollen and itching ALL OVER after such a fling up at Bald Hill…
So have a good eclipse, and behave yourself!
PS – if you start to feel itchy, go talk to a pharmacist, ASAP!