It was around seven o'clock, and a few of us still loitered around the table, finished with the meal, but not yet motivated to move on. As it often does, my gaze traveled to the triple window in the dining room, to marvel at the western view, searching through the trees for the bare wood footbridge that stretches across the marshland. It's where the deer emerge, and then follow the creek up into our back yard. It's where the moccasins arch their backs up out of the high grass to warm their skin in the Springtime sun. But something was different this time.
I thought perhaps the warm water, heated by recent summer like temperatures had mingled with the cool air, brought on by an earlier rain, and had created a heavy mist that hung over the marsh and wafted through the trees. But that wasn't it. It was thick, and hard to see through, so I thought perhaps that a rain cloud had stalled over the marsh and released it's gentle shower just there, in that one spot, not moving toward the houses, or the highway. But that wasn't it. I stood and moved to the window in the kitchen, looking out at the north side of the neighborhood. The cloud hung there too. I thought perhaps a fire smoldered nearby, letting the smoke carry off on the wings of the wind. But that wasn't it. Last year we could smell the smoke from wild fires burning on the coast, nearly a hundred and fifty miles away. On this evening, there was no scent of smoke.
I was stumped, in a serious way. What was this mysterious fog that hung low in the air, and silently slink'ed around the trunks of the tall oaks, and taller pines? From my back porch, I watched the cloud, slightly tinted in a light spring green, drift from the west marsh to the eastern woods, enveloping my yard, my porch, my body, along it's way. It was then that I knew what it was.
It was odorless, and near tasteless, too, but the consistency was unmistakable on my tongue. That ever so slight grit of chalk. Suddenly it all made sense. Mother Nature had spent the last few weeks erasing the signs of winter (however mild they may have been), and now she was out there clapping the erasers. Now, for those of you who don't believe in such things, let me put it another way. Every pine tree within a three mile radius had shuffled in the evening breeze, that was so gentle you wouldn't have even noticed it if you hadn't been looking very, very closely. I was looking, and I saw it. I also saw the wispy puff of yellow "smoke" that erupted from those evergreen needles. Pine pollen.
Fifteen minutes after the greenish cloud passed over the neighborhood, my husband and I stepped into the driveway, preparing to make a quick run to the store, only to find our black car completely dusted in yellow. The yellow dust kicked up behind each car that traveled up the road. Everything we saw from here to there and back again, was covered.
That night, while closing the doors and windows, it occurred to me that I had had them open all day. Every surface in my home now bares a yellow layer, that did not previously exist, as I had just dusted everything the day before. I had even shampooed the carpets... which I now must do again.
Since we all suffer the symptoms of those pesky seasonal allergies ...'Tis the season of the sinus infection! Happy Spring everyone!