You should see Austin right now.
It’s sunny…crisp….breezy…and horrible.
We’re experiencing a major pollen apocalypse (apollencalypse?) — courtesy of the “mountain cedar” (Juniperus ashei) that calls the Texas Hill Country home. Thanks to just the right combo of abundant autumn rain and early winter cold snap, these trees are producing copious amounts of the burnt orange pollen for which they’re infamous.
Check out this video making the rounds on Facebook. A friend of a friend filmed it from his back porch. That’s not smoke you see wafting through the hillside.
The stuff is making everyone here miserable. Snot-streaming noses, puffy eyes and migraine-grade headaches are par for the course. All the free tissue boxes at my office have been nabbed. I even heard that two moms got into a kickboxing brawl over the last neti pot at Whole Foods.
Some folks propose reducing the juniper population, while others want simply to eradicate the hated tree — an impractical if not impossible task, given that it covers millions of acres throughout Texas. Me, I’ve got a different idea, noted below. Of course, I’ll still be keeping the Benadryl and Kleenex stockpiled next to my bed…along with my new neti pot from Whole Foods.
My eyes, how they burn!
My head, how it aches!
My nose, how it’s snifflin’ and sneezin’!
My throat’s raw and sore,
and I’m tired to the core.
(I suspect you’ve detected the reason.)
I’m popping the pills
my doc gave for these ills,
and I’ve begged for the meds he injects.
I’m suffering so,
because — dontcha know —
some trees are outside having sex.
Yes, it’s that time of year,
Cedar Fever is here;
In the air there’s a thick, orange-y haze.
It’s their pollen, diffuse,
as those trees reproduce
and we humans go ‘round in a daze.
It seems unfair to us
for no plants suffer thus
when we people do our procreating.
Still, I can’t ease our pain,
so let’s try to contain
this strong penchant for cedar tree hating.
Dare I now ask of you
to take their point of view,
these trees that are misery’s source?
We may hate how they mate
but it’s only their fate
and we have to let life take its course.
For this pollen persists
’cause these trees can’t resist
the power of nature’s sweet call.
You see, LOVE is the reason
for allergy season —
and that, as we know, conquers all.
©2014 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz