Monday, May 16, 2011

The Misleading Beauty of the Kudzu

One day last week I was watching Oprah, trying to get my fill before she closes the door on 25 years of television excellence.  The topic was "The Freedom Riders."  A group of incredibly brave and forward thinking people who joined forces to ride buses in 1961 from Washington D.C. deep into the bowels of the South where racism was as thick as the kudzu that overtakes the landscape of any and all vegetation around it. 
I was fascinated as I listened to stories recanted about the blatant bigotry that existed so prominently then and somewhat quietly today.  Buried within the "Bless your hearts" of those who were overtaken with this backward thinking of racism, was the society that choked life from everything near it.  I began to think that perhaps bigotry and kudzu are one in the same. 

On the surface, kudzu is beautiful, a deep greenery of vegetation that rolls on forever, climbing up into trees, along the roads, taking presidence on top of the grass.  At first glance, it seems that the soil beneath the kudzu would be fertile and rich encouraging the production of vegetables and fruit.  But, to those who are from the South, we know it to be a beautiful killer of everything around it. 

I've watched people try to kill the kudzu without much luck.  No amount of digging or trying to pull the roots up would do.  Once these plants take hold of the earth, it's nearly impossible to get rid of it.  I once asked my grandfather about how to get rid of kudzu if it overtook your yard, fields, and home.  His best advice was to "leave it, cause you won't ever get rid of it."  From then on, I've looked at kudzu in a different way.  It looks beautiful on the surface, but it's downright deadly if you don't recognize the damage it can do.

Somehow, The Freedom Riders were able to kill off a good portion of kudzu in the South that day.  Leave it to Oprah, a television icon and media mogul who once resided in Mississippi to shine the light on those who were able to stop the kudzu in it's tracks.


More Musings Later-


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