Lesson #3 – November, 2012
Bittersweet Vines and Twigs
I encountered bittersweet in the Delaware River Valley of northeast Pennsylvania. This plant starts small but within a few years can completely envelop full grown oak and maple trees. The bittersweet is definitely an invasive species that, inadvertently, can cause great damage – especially the added weight in winter time.
What amazes me about bittersweet is the way it grows. The vine isn’t particularly strong. It’s fairly easy to break it by hand. But, the individual pieces of vine twist around each other and the resulting “braid” is nearly indestructible. And when I see it, I can’ help but think of an experiential lesson my mother taught me many decades ago.
When my brothers and I would fight, she would take us aside give us a small twig to break. Then she would give us two twigs together to break, which was a little harder. And then she would put three twigs together (one for each of us). Try as we might we could never break the three twigs. After we struggled for awhile, mom would say, “Individually, a lot of people can beat you but if you stick together, no one can beat you.”
Thank you Bittersweet Vine and twigs.