Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pollen on steroids

Three days ago, in symbolic harmony with Easter, every tree in Durham burst forth with tiny, radiant, light green leaves. By evening, not a branch was bare. Then the wild, hedonistic gametophyte orgy began.

Pollen season in Durham is always impressive, but this year is outpacing the past ten combined. The wind blows, and pfft, a billow of yellow dust explodes from every tree. The clouds hover momentarily, then waft slowly down the street. Profligacy compensates for lack of discernment. Rocks, fire hydrants, asphalt, mammals: anything's fair game when an oak tree feels the urge to fertilize.

The entire population of Durham is wandering around in a blinking daze, eyes raw and red not because of microscopic allergens but because of the scratchy, millimeter-scale particles that are bombarding everything. I took a walk around the block yesterday to snap some photos of pollen-covered cars, and by the time I came home, my camera was dusted as well.

The season is unfolding in fast-motion. What was yesterday an innocent-looking clump of pollen bunnies hanging on a tree is today a pollen tumbleweed, running amok in the street, building up size and strength.

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