Thorn in my thumb

Pyracantha thornThis little beasty is an 8mm long thorn from a Pyracantha shrub1 that used to live in our back garden.

Like most of the plants, this shrub had been left to grow almost wild by the previous owner and we spent hours in the months after we moved in ‘demolition’ gardening in a (relatively successful) effort to tame it. As we soon learned, some plants put up more of a struggle than others; this particular one has woody branches which are incredibly springy and tipped with long thin, needle-sharp thorns. Many times as I pulled a branch aside to trim it I was rewarded with another one lashing out at me with startling speed and accuracy.

I was reminded this morning of one occasion (over ten years ago) when the shrub stabbed me in the side of my thumb. It felt like quite a deep wound and I was concerned that it looked as though there might be a little dirt left in there but eventually (sparing any squeamish readers the details) both I and the nurse at my local doctors’ surgery concluded that the wound was clean. As expected, my thumb was rather tender for a few days but then the wound healed over and all seemed fine – in fact I forgot all about the incident in no time at all.

A few weeks later I became aware that the side of my thumb was very tender and I noticed some discolouration in the spot where the bush had attacked me. I have to say that I was so surprised when this thorn emerged (again, sparing my readers the details) that I kept it.

As I was clearing out some stuff the other day I came across this little thorn again and it reminded me that although life can throw some really nasty surprises at us – sometimes you can’t sort everything out straight away. As with the thorn in my thumb, sometimes we have to let the wounds that life causes us heal over for a while and allow some time pass before we’re able to put things right.

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  1. Pyrancantha is a vigorously growing evergreen shrub or small tree, with spiny branches bearing simple, but glossy leaves and small white flowers in early summer followed by showy red, orange or yellow berries.