Someone please explain to me the purpose of burrs. It’s like Mother Nature created an all-natural plant-based Velcro, but only gave us the rough sides, so we could understand that the true definition of a hanger-on isn’t your ex in college.

You know, the scratchy side that ruins all your sweaters every time you wear that coat that has the Velcro strips outside the zipper, so when you try and be all cool with “the cold doesn’t bother me” attitude and don’t do up the coat, fibres of your soft sweater are yanked out, over and over again. The sweater never recovers. Your mother was right – do up your coat.

I used to have seatbelt covers that had the same Velcro enclosure. I damaged a few good tops, jackets and summer dresses with those seatbelt covers, which were useless, by the way. They were basically sliding pads that never stayed in place. As they got worn down, the scratchy Velcro would scrape my skin and it felt like skidding across artificial turf with bare limbs (I border on dramatic, but I love a good visual).

But who doesn’t love the scritchy sound when you rip the Velcro closures apart? It’s a good sound. Sadly, burrs don’t make a fun sound because burrs basically hold on for dear life to whatever they affix themselves to. If they made a sound it would be that of a teething toddler visiting the mall Santa, who really doesn’t want to be taken from their mother to be photographed by a giant man with a white beard. How’s that for a visual? Burrs behave like that toddler. 

Just ask Scout, my tiny terrier, who’s discovering that country living means an almost daily run-in with burrs, something she never concerned herself with when walking in town. Poor girl. She is so keen to catch the scent of squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits that she dashes off into the forest and comes back looking like she got into a fight with a swarm of hostile, tiny, brown spores, and lost. Oh, the shame. Oh, the discomfort.

Note to self: no matter how bad Scout’s burrs are, do not attempt to remove them while wearing your handmade mittens, then touching your knit toque to move your hair away from your face, or you too will have a whole lot of burrs to battle, and you will also look as if you’ve lost the fight, because you have.

Back at home, those prickly hooks are a nightmare to dissemble. They hurt. What? I have soft hands, okay? I wear gardening gloves, use doggie conditioner and a comb to gently coax those burrs from Scout’s fur. She loves this process so much (if she could curse in dog swears, she would have a potty mouth). 

Sometimes, only scissors will do. Scout is starting to look like I did that summer I decided to cut my own bangs with the same kitchen scissors we used to open the bags of milk (I just made every hairdresser and dog groomer shiver in unison).

I’m sure burr plants offer some important environmental benefit and somebody somewhere is insulted at my ignorance about the infructescence that is aesthetically designed to spread seeds, often through epizoochory (I Googled that; it’s my new favourite word), so Mother Nature can spread more one-sided Velcro around the planet. 

Awesome. Great. Save the burrs. 

Sorry, Scout.

WriteOut of Her Mind