Here in North Carolina, spring is busting out all over and it looks like every kind of grass, flower, and weed shot up almost overnight. The trees are budding out and dropping a variety of “tags” and other debris in competition with the flowers and bushes. An explosion of pollen, like a giant talcum powder dust storm has settled over every single inch of the outdoors. My porches, patio furniture and the grill, not to mention the vehicles, are covered in a thick yellow dust.
I went on a run Wednesday morning, when the air was still damp, fresh and clean. It had rained the night before and water puddled in the curb, street and yards. As I ran along the road, I saw the run off where it had gathered, a mixture of water and yellow spores so thick it almost looked like pale lemon pudding. Pretty, but sort of gross too.
Years ago when I did some traveling for work, I recollect flying into Raleigh Durham Airport (I think it was a Regional Airport, not yet International), and it was spring then too. There were more trees back then because we hadn’t seen the explosion of growth in the area yet. I won’t ever forget seeing a yellow dust devil twisting and twirling it’s way along the run way because the lack of rain had elevated our usual right of spring passage to new proportions of invasion.
If you’ve lived here all your life like I have, I guess there is some sort of immunity from the year over year of exposure to pollen, sort of like having a natural vaccine against runny noses and eyes. For me, all it means is it’s a sign of warm weather, with no more icy cold days standing outside waiting for Little Dog to do his business.
The only thing that bothers me is this stuff makes a mess, and I mean A MESS. You simply can’t walk outside and then back inside without tracking it in. You can’t open up doors or windows on a nice day unless you want to spend the next several dusting, vacuuming and mopping. It’s actually getting inside even though I’m keeping everything closed up as tight as if it were only thirty degrees.
All said and done, this part of the season only lasts about six to eight weeks. By the end of May, the pecan tree across the alley will be the last of the last to relinquish tags and one final rain or breeze will blow off the last puff of pollen. I’ll be able to open up doors and windows, and enjoy sitting outside while working on my project. I won’t look like “Pig Pen” when I walk , with little puffs of dust coming off me as I move.
Spring is here. Finally. Yellow dust and all.