In Virginia, we have a series of sub seasons before we really get into the full swing of the weather we are actually supposed to be experiencing. Spring is no exception. We’ve got early spring, second winter, spring of deception, third winter, etc… and our current season? The pollening. It sounds like a campy horror movie.
Pollen season always happens so suddenly, right? I mean, we see the slow transformation from the bleak that is winter. We see that the landscape is beginning to brighten. But it still seems like out of nowhere, all the pine trees decided it was time to reproduce! My favorite local meteorologist, at least, blames this surge of yellow on the pines.
Ugh. This stuff is everywhere. Fine, yellow silt covering our cars, being inhaled, coating our clothes. It’s as if Mother Nature has cast a yellow filter on our world. Clouds of the stuff waft up from the trees into the breeze, landing on all the surfaces. Light rain brings rivers of pollen that collect in swirling divots. A friend had to brush off the pollen from my scrubs the other day when I sat on a bench outside with one of my patients. And even though we were only out there for about 30 minutes, the stuff had gotten all over my patient’s shoes, too! No surface is off limits, it seems.
One of my favorite stories from Longwood was from the spring semester that I took botany. Now, I only had to take this one plant class for my biology degree since I was in the pre-PT track, but it was certainly memorable. Dr. Scott was our professor, and he was, in true tenured professor form, what one would call eccentric. He was certainly old enough to be considering retirement, and looked like a really nice grandpa. Sure, he was a square on the outside, but once he spoke, he was just, well, different.
During one of our labs in the spring semester, we went outside on an especially beautiful day. Dr. Scott took in a deep breath, let out an audible sigh, and exclaimed, “You smell that kids? That’s plant sex!” Oy. What a way to make a bunch of college kids feel uncomfortable and silly all at the same time! We erupted into giggles and exasperated groans.
Over the weekend, my daughter opened a window in our house. I kind of forgot about it. But after seeing all the yellow film on my car, I went to look and see if any of the pollen had made it through the screen indoors. Indeed, there was a fine coating on the floor. I should know to not open a window during tree fornication season! Oh, well. Nothing a swiffer couldn’t handle!
Not only are the trees having fun, but most of the early season flowers that many would consider weeds are in bloom. These are the first foods for our pollinators. Is anyone else just a little more compassionate toward honey bees these days? I used to fear them. Now I try to just sit still and watch them do their thing. Pollen can be good, right?
For my friends in the northern hemisphere, where are you at with regard to spring? Is the pollen as bad where you are as it is here in Virginia? As much as the yellow stuff is annoying, it’s a sign of healthy trees and plants! So don’t fret. It’s just plant sex!
Don’t get me wrong, I really do love spring! I’m looking forward to putting in a garden soon. If the pollen is wreaking havoc on your allergies, hopefully the rain we got last night has cleared it out! I’m still waiting for my pollen headache to subside. But we should enjoy this time, as Virginia’s worst season will come later this summer… known as Hell’s Front Porch. I’m really not looking forward to that. As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.