In the southern United States, many trees, buildings, and fences are covered with a vine called kudzu. This aggressive vine grows at the rate of one foot per day during the summertime and it is extremely hardy. Kudzu is killing many of our trees as it quickly wraps itself around the trunk and branches and suffocates the trees. What was once thought to be a wonderful plant is now considered a nightmare by many.
Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Countries were invited to build exhibits to celebrate the 100th birthday of the U.S. The Japanese government constructed a beautiful garden filled with plants from their country. The large leaves and sweet-smelling blooms of kudzu captured the imagination of American gardeners who used the plant for ornamental purposes.
Florida nursery operators, Charles and Lillie Pleas, discovered that animals would eat the plant and promoted its use for forage in the 1920s. During the 1930s, the Soil Conservation Service promoted kudzu for erosion control. Hundreds of young men were given work, planting kudzu through the Civilian Conservation Corps. Farmers were paid as much as eight dollars an acre as an incentive to plant fields of the vines in the 1940s.
The vines were successful food for animals and certainly were victorious in preventing erosion, but they have also killed many trees.
Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. An analogy can be drawn between the kudzu vine and factors in our lives, such as food buffets and fast food restaurants, both of which have led to overeating or poor eating habits resulting in obesity. Or consider the demands that others put on us and that we lay upon ourselves.
We sometimes allow these things to take over our lives and, like the kudzu that covers the tree preventing it from getting the needed sunshine, we find ourselves wrapped up in and squeezed by too many demands.
Kudzu and fast food restaurants and buffets are in our lives to stay. However, we should control the vines lest they control and smother us. Does the kudzu serve a useful purpose? Certainly, but in moderation. We must be sure that we understand what we are planting and cultivating before we allow undesirable demands and “vines” to take over our lives.
Affirmation for the Week:
“I am responsibly growing those vines in my life that will help me. I tend to those vines with a watchful eye, and a pair of scissors for cutting loose that which is preventing me from enjoying the sunlight of life.”
Have an insightful week!
Mary “Motivator” Rau-Foster