In the back of my mind I knew this day was coming, and yet it is one thing to be mentally prepared for it, and quite another thing to experience it first hand. We awoke the other day to a world made nearly inhabitable. A blanket of near fluorescent yellow-green dust covered every surface and more powder circulated through the air made so thick you could chew it. Our eyes burned and breathing without breaking into coughing spasms became a conscious struggle. Survival would depend on how diligently we had built up our stores of medical supplies during the months prior.
Am I describing some post apocalyptic hell scape? No. It is time once again for pollen season in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Raleigh’s nickname is the City of Oaks, and it shows. One of the things that separates it from other cities such as Charlotte is the amount of greenery preserved within the city limits. It’s a lovely city in the autumn as the leaves begin to change, and a beauty in late March when the flowers begin to bloom. Most of the year there are few places I would rather be. But then there is April (and sometimes May).
In 2008, Mark Wahlberg starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s movie, The Happening in which people begin to mysteriously engage in highly self-destructive behaviour. Spoiler alert – the behavior is caused by an air-borne pathogen much like pollen. The movie wasn’t exactly a critical darling, with many people laughing at its premise. But those who have experienced pollen season in Raleigh have to wonder if the trees are in fact out to get us. Just look at pollen under a microscope! Ouch!
Thankfully rain helps to wash it away, but in between storms this dust gets everywhere and easily transfers onto EVERYTHING. Don’t try sitting down outside during pollen season unless you want your rear end to be highlighted in green upon standing. You can try to sweep it up and all you wind up doing is launching it back into the air where it either settles back on another surface or in your lungs and eyes. My vaccum is no match for it. Pollen is like nature’s take on glitter. I’ve only encountered one substance that is harder to get rid of after you touch it, and that is dust from the moon. At least the moon dust leaves smears you can brag about.
Normally I would try to tie this back to one of my usual topics: parenthood, entrepreneurship, or writing. I could say something inspirational like how a single granular of pollen may be tiny on its own but together can lay siege to an entire city, I could write about the importance of planning ahead for business or writing. I could laugh about how my kids’ pollen colored hand and foot prints make my job as a parent easier because I can better track what they’ve gotten into. I’d scour the internet for related articles. I could expand on any of those topics, but I am finding it difficult to concentrate.
Kermit the frog had it right when he said “It’s not easy being green”.