Now that I'm back, everything's changed here. In just a few days, the amber strands of oak pollen have begun to float through the air at the slightest breeze. And the bright yellow-green pellets that drop to the ground are bursting at every footfall and tire tread. The streets look like the aftermath of a massive pixie stick party.
I've never been diagnosed with allergies. On the other hand, I never had problems with watery eyes, sneezing, or coughing before I moved here. My issues aren't constant, but I do have periods during the spring when my eyes are coated with gunk and I have periodic sneezing fits. So when the warnings went out about the high pollen counts in Atlanta, I briefly considered packing some Claritin, just in case.
But my few symptoms barely slow me down in a bad year, and so far there's no sign of problems this spring. I have to wonder, though, how I can inhale all this stuff and not end up with some sort of respiratory illness. It must be worth it, though, to live in the riot of color we experience for a few weeks this time of year. Walking home is like strolling through one of the Technicolor tropical travelogues the Kiwanis Club sponsored during my childhood. And right now, I can breathe deeply and enjoy it.