Spring has sprung here in Charlotte. Flowers are in bloom. Trees are budding wide, veiny leaves. And pollen is absolutely everywhere: on cars, on the recycling bins at the curb, on the street, on the sidewalks, in parking lots, on the deck tables and chairs, on the grill, in my garage, inside my car, on the windowsills of my house. Absolutely everywhere.
What a lovely image of my husband's windshield.
Here's a shot of the back window of my minivan.
The pollen is so thick on some cars, it looks like a light dusting of snow. The pollen is so thick on the floor of my garage that it looks like we are producing and packaging cocaine on the premises. Although, I suppose if we were drug manufacturers and dealers, we would do a better job of keeping the stuff on the table and not letting it spill onto the floor and fill the tread of my tires. And if we were drug manufacturers and dealers, I could - under no circumstances - sneeze in the garage as often as I have over these past couple of weeks. I would blow our profits away - literally and figuratively.
The truth is that there has been some drug trafficking going on in our house. My son and I have our hits carefully timed: every 24 hours, we each take a tablet of powdery release on our tongues. Sometimes I get it first; sometimes he gets it first. I never thought I would be a drug addict, and I certainly never imagined that I would introduce such a habit to my children. But over the past week, my son and I have taken on a 10 milligram daily hit of loratadine - otherwise known as Claritin. Ah, the sweet, light, life-affirming taste of it. Melting gently on my tongue.
Within minutes, my eyes stop watering, my sneezes stop, my ears clear up. And I'm feeling mighty fine.
I lay back on my pillow, close my eyes, and listen to the buzzing in my ears start to fade.
Pollen season sucks.
The best part about pollen season is the realization that winter is over. Winter's rain and snow have had the desired effect - and new life bursts up from the recently hard, red soil. Bare branches inhale the warm air and exhale buds and leaves. Daffodils bloom. Tulip stems serve as a tasty and colorful treat for the deer that pass through the neighborhood. We haven't seen a tulip flower in years around here. I'm dying to know what my neighbor three houses away is doing to protect her tulips. I would imagine that she doesn't do anything at all: the deer start at my end of the cul-de-sac, and by the time they reach her house, their bellies are full.
These beautiful little blooms on the side of our driveway make all my itchiness and sneeziness worthwhile.
And these too...
I put my finger there in order to grant a bit of perspective on how tiny these yellow roses are. There are hundreds of them at the end of the driveway. Absolutely spectacular.
Here's the thing: other than one day of tulip and daffodil bulb-planting with Steve and the kids three years ago, I had absolutely nothing to do with any of this. I didn't plant those roses or the other flowers. I didn't plant any of the trees that surround us on all sides. I certainly did not order the pollen dust to fly everywhere, including INSIDE my minivan. (I suppose I should have closed the windows when I went into Barnes and Noble. But still...)
I didn't have anything to do with the production of Claritin either. Nor did I earn any of the money that allowed me to purchase it.
But, despite the sneezing fits that convulse me at various points during the day causing me to think that I am indeed allergic to my life, I am grateful for every little polleny, dusty, sneezy, sniffly, aching head, nosebleed in the middle of the night moment of it.
Sorrow may last for the winter - in the darkness and gloom and gray, rainy days. Sorrow may even extend into these early, pollen-coated days of spring.
But when the flowers sprout up, when the Japanese maple spreads it lush red leaves, when the crepe myrtle trees and the pear trees and the apple trees and my heart and mind and soul and friendships explode with new buds and blooms and colors and fragrance, that's when the joy returns. We made it through yet another winter. Glory be!
Well, I'd better go. It's time for me and my son to take our daily hit.