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Pollen-nation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Tuesday, 19 April 2011 21:56


My husband came in from dragging the trash can from the street last night. “Hon, did the county spray some kind of new mosquito killer? Everything’s covered with this yellow dust. “


Nope. Not bug killer. It’s pollen.


New England has ‘mud season’ to mark the start of spring. The Midwest suffers the threat of tornadoes. Here on the Shore, it’s pollen. It’s sprinkled like fairy dust on lawns and cars, tickling noses and causing sneezing fits and itchy eyes in the allergy-prone, like me. When pollen arrives, the first mowing of the lawn and the first mosquitoes of the year are not far behind.


Pollen season starts off insidiously. Just a little lint on the windshield in the morning. One swipe of the wipers and it’s gone. Give it time. Before it’s over, the stuff will cake at the side of the road after a rainstorm. Brush up against a layer of it anywhere and it’s on your clothing, in your house, and on your furniture. I love Mother Nature, but when she does something to make me have to clean my house, I’ll drop her from my Friend list on Facebook.


A couple of years ago, I was following a truck down Riverside Drive in Salisbury. Somewhere near the Girl Scout camp, the truck momentarily disappeared in a sudden puff of yellow haze. When we parked, the driver – who was from Wisconsin – asked what was going on. “I thought something had exploded. There was this yellow smoke.” He thought it was very strange and somehow unnatural. This from a man living in a place where people wear giant cheese wedges on their heads at football games.


I’m not sure just what plant or tree is responsible for the yellow blizzard. I’d like to blame the Bradford Pear – that non-native, shallow-rooted, brittle ornamental tree that reeks with the odor of stale urine when in bloom – but I don’t think that’s it. I know it’s not dogwood or red bud. Both of them bloom peaceably in my yard. It’s a mystery, because if only a fraction of the pollen it produces successfully caused germination, we’d be covered with whatever plant is involved like roadsides in the South are smothered in kudzu.


If you need to find me in the next couple of weeks, just listen for the sneezing and follow the trail of used tissues. They’ll probably be covered with pollen.


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