The not-so-surprising surprise of spring’s by-product

BY RANDALL RIGSBEE, News + Record Staff
Posted 4/5/19

A year seems about the right amount of time to forget something. Not to erase memory completely, necessarily; but enough time to push some things into a recess of the brain where the particulars are …

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The not-so-surprising surprise of spring’s by-product

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A year seems about the right amount of time to forget something. Not to erase memory completely, necessarily; but enough time to push some things into a recess of the brain where the particulars are buried.

Maybe it’s as simple as the time-tested maxim, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

I’ve been, as I do every winter, patiently awaiting the arrival of spring, a season which, though beyond sight for the last few months, hasn’t been far from my mind.

As of March 20, spring is back, and you can count me among those happy for its return.

But over the past 12 months, I’d forgotten that with the welcome reemergence of spring comes the not-as-welcome return of the season’s unpleasant, though important, by-product: pollen.

It happens fast. One day, things are “normal.” The next, a yellow coating of pollen is clinging to everything.

By my observations, this happened last week. I first noticed after I’d mowed my lawn.

So far from my memory was this annual annoyance — and as a result, so unexpected was its sudden, unannounced return — that it was only after I’d developed a mild headache and a distinctly nasal tone to my voice that I realized pollen, stirred up in the lawn-mowing, was the culprit.

Come to think of it, I slowly realized, after the fact, as I grappled with my sudden symptoms late last week, the world around me did look somehow more...yellow.

If I’d been clueless before then — blissfully ignorant, given my memory lapse over the past year — by next morning, the tell-tale signs of pollen’s 2019 reappearance were unmistakable and could no longer be ignored. The irritating substance was now visible everywhere, especially on the exterior of my black car, which Nature had taken the liberty of supplementing with a powdery, splotchy undesired extra coat.

It was especially noticeable Monday morning. The outside temperature hovering around the freezing mark as I got into my car for the commute to work, a blast of windshield cleaner was just the thing needed, I thought, to clean off the pollen dust for unimpeded visibility. But as soon as the cleaner emitted from the reservoir onto the windshield, the liquid combined with the pollen to form a thick, icky paste that immediately froze as the windshield wipers evenly spread the mixture.

It’s just one of those things. We can’t really do anything about it, other than keep our windows shut to keep the pollen out, and dose up on sinus and allergy medicines to alleviate the physical distress the fine springtime powder causes many of us.

For the moment, we’re still very fresh into the new season, spring still in its awkward growth stage, and that means more pollen to come.

The good news for allergy sufferers and those of us who enjoy our cars the color the manufacturer intended, rather than pasty yellow, is that pollen season doesn’t last forever.

But precisely how long it lasts, I’ve managed over the past year to forget.


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