Sunday, March 20, 2016

The End is Near!

Do you remember that “B” science fiction movie “The Day of the Triffids”? In that movie, there was a green meteor shower that rendered everyone who looked at it blind. This allowed the Triffids, tall, venomous, carnivorous plants capable of locomotion and communication to take over the world.

This time of the year the weather warms and the pine pollen covers every exposed surface with a coarse yellow powder that defies every attempt to remove it with the tenacity of super glue. When it is yellow – green outside like this, I remember the movie and wonder when the carnivorous Triffids will make their appearance. Is that one peeking around the corner eyeing me with a verdant malevolence? Naw, that’s just a Virginia Creeper, that scurrilous vine with whom I’ll soon be waging mortal battle to claim the land of my backyard fence. But still one must be vigilant. That monster that was created by John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris just might be lurking out there somewhere. Yes that is the author’s real name! He wrote under the pseudonym; John Wyndham.

They tell me that the pine pollen is not what folks are allergic to. But I respond that if I should accidentally get some in my nose I will have a bout of sneezing that will not let up until I have gotten it all out. I am willing to concede to the scientists’ statements that the allergy causing pollens are too small to be seen. But nonetheless yellow time is not fun time.

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the pine pollen season is getting worse as time passes. I live in what used to be a pine forest now and the neighborhood where I grew up in Florida was full of pine trees. Nevertheless, I don’t remember pollen coatings back in the day. Is it climate change or El Nino? Hmmm – “El Nino” is translated as “the boy child”; that explains everything. Make that “the 2 year old boy child” and it becomes crystal clear. I will have to make note the next time we have a “La Nina” of “the girl child” and see if the weather and the pollen counts are better behaved.

All I know is that I led an allergy free life until I came to South Carolina for college. Taking into account that there are far more different species of pollens in Florida it must be that South Carolina’s are stronger than Florida’s. And to make matters worse, they changed me forever. I remember in the 70s waking up the morning after swimming in a lake near Keystone Heights Florida that I swam in hundreds of times before as a child with red eyes and a terrible headache. To this day, I can’t enjoy my old swimmin’ hole!

Yesterday, there was rain forecast for our area. I was cheering for the showers to come in and clear the area of pollen at least for a little while. At the same time, I didn’t want the rain to spoil the St. Patrick’s Celebration down in the Five Points area of the city. They were expecting some 30,000 + revelers there for one of the biggest events of the year. Also the Gamecocks were playing their SEC Opening Series a couple of miles away down near the river. I was thinking that wouldn’t it be nice if the rain held off until after those events!

Mother Nature must have been listening, because that is exactly what happened. The rains came in after both events had concluded and the crowds made their way back home. Hey Mom, I take back all those things I’ve been saying about you this week. You did good, even if it is chilly today! I know that my friends up north may have a different take on the weekend with snow showers happening up there. But, at least the accumulations are not nearly as bad as was predicted by the European Meteorological Model. This is BIG! For the first time in recent years, the American Model outperformed the European Model.

By now, you must be wondering what I meant by “The End Is Near”? When I stepped out into the cool crisp air my eyes spotted something. I cheered a big “Yes” and I fist pumped the air. Covering the concrete of the walkway, the cars and what passes for grass in my front yard was a layer of what we call “pine worms” or “pollen worms” around here. They came down in the rain last night and although there are still more in the trees they are beginning to fall. Why is this important? These “pine worms” are where the pine pollen come from. Now that they are beginning to fall, it us just a matter of time before the yellow rain is over for another year. We will have some time before the grass pollens take their turns. All except the grass in my front yard, that is, it’s to puny to have pollen. Oh MY!

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