Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Seasonal Revenge

"The difference between a gun and a tree is a difference of tempo. The tree explodes every spring."—Ezra Pound

The seasons do not benevolently follow one another. They resent their small, 25-percent cut of the year and begin their reigns by wreaking revenge on the populace. Take spring, for instance.

Spring kicked off with a snowstorm, just to make sure we were not complacent about the frail promise of warmer weather to come. That was followed by the traditional monsoons in April with the usual sections of New Jersey flooding, leaving behind a panorama of gooey mud. Then, as the waters receded, there came the final insult—the yellow dusts of May.

"I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face."—Langston Hughes

Beautiful blooms or biological warfare?
After a winter of gray skies and brown, unconscious landscapes, life reasserted itself passive aggressively across the region. The trees bloomed in deceptively beautiful greens, whites and pinks, spewing an insidious coating of yellow pollen over cars, walkways and my face. My eyes swelled up, making me look like Yoda, and an uncomfortable tickle took residence in my throat. While others were dancing in circles, admiring the miracle of green splashing everywhere, I was busy putting ice packs on my face, filling my pockets with cough drops and taking homeopathic antihistamines.

"April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers."—Edna St. Vincent Millay

Nothing says spring like poison ivy.
Of course, there is a bright side to all of this. For the first time since I planted them, my hyacinths were not eaten by the local fauna and I was able to admire them and my daffodils through narrow eye slits. My clematis vines suddenly returned from the dead with tiny leaves and buds. My exorbitant heating oil bills should go down when I turn the heat off in coming weeks. And eventually, the radioactive rains (courtesy of Japan) will wash away the pollen and my eyes will become functional again.

“In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours."—Mark Twain

Having buried us alive in snow, drenched us in relentless rain, surrounded us with oozing mud and poisoned us with yellow dust, spring has achieved its wicked best. Satisfied at having had its way with us, it can sit back and throw us a few gratuitous weeks to recover before her sister, summer, sweeps into town and takes her vindictive turn.

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