L in the Southeast

L in the Southeast
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
November 04
Retired PR Director
I am a retired Public Relations professional who now writes purely for fun and catharsis. I covered most of my memoir-type pieces in the first three years here. Lately I have dabbled in politics, current affairs, pop culture and movie reviews. Life is my muse.


L in the Southeast's Links

MARCH 20, 2012 11:17AM


Rate: 46 Flag

Pollen on car


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer

Yeah, well, whatever, Mr. Kilmer.  You obviously never visited Atlanta, Georgia in the springtime... or in the case of the year 2012, wintertime.

I moved into my first Atlanta house on April 1, 1993.  It was already spring and the azalea bushes in the front yard were only barely budding.  At around  65 or 70 degrees, the weather was exactly as I expected of the deep south. 

Two weeks later I took my brand new Mazda out of its garage home and drove to a strip mall to do a little bargain shopping for the house.  I was in the store for no more than 20 minutes.  As I approached my car I noticed its Mediterranean Blue Metallic paint had taken on a decidedly chartreuse cast, minus the shine.  What the...?  On closer inspection, the fine powdery substance which covered every inch of the car looked a lot like mustard powder.

A shopper whose car was parked next to mine emerged from the store and caught the quizzical look on my face.  Laughing, she asked "New in town?"  She went on to explain the annual excuse all Atlantans use for not washing their cars in mid-April: pine pollen.

To state the obvious, this is mid-March.  The azaleas have been in full bloom for two weeks.  The Annual Dogwood Festival is held somewhere around April 20 each year, a time when the dogwood trees are in full bloom.  Well, guess what?  It is March 20 and the dogwood trees are already in full bloom!  The Dogwood Festival will be dogwoodless in 2012.


Dogwood blooms


And this morning the pollen count it 9,378 particles per cubic meter, a number which shatters all other records for any day since the scientists have been measuring.  The previous record established in 1999 at 6,013 was obliterated by yesterday's 8,000 plus reading.  That didn't last long.

The pollen count is determined by counting the number of pollen grains landing on a given area during a specified period of time.  The count is taken by spinning a rod that moves through the air at certain intervals. The pollen that sticks to the rod are stained and examined under a microscope for counting.  

 The photo above is of the windshield of my car.  The entire car looks like a Sasquatch threw up on it.  Oddly, enough, what you can see -- that putrid yellow-green stuff is pretty harmless, mainly because it is large enough to see with the naked eye.  It is what cannot be seen that is stopping allergy sufferers in their tracks today.  And the grasses haven't even started yet!

The tree reflected in the windshield has started raining its sap and bud hulls down into the pollen, creating this nauseous vision. Pollen on car 2

As I took this photo I could have sworn I heard that fly in the middle sneezing.

According to an allergist who appeared on the local newscast last night, it takes 10-15 years of living in Atlanta to develop allergies to local trees, weeds and grasses.  I have lived here 19 years and have been spared, so far.  Except for the mold spores that have still not appeared, that is.  I will have a headache, day and night, for weeks in July.  Except this year, it will probably be in June AND July, because everything is a month ahead of schedule.

We have also broken the record for the number of consecutive days in March above 80 degrees.  Today, we will break it again. 

What the hell is going on with the weather?  It will be 83 degrees in Chicago today, while the folks in Flagstaff, Arizona are still shoveling out the  two feet of snow that fell there Sunday!  Meanwhile, the people in Los Angeles are expecting a high today of a chilly 66.

I would launch into another rant about how ridiculous it is for the Republicans to insist there is no such thing as global warming, but...it's too hot.


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We are having a very warm late winter/early spring in Iowa - and I am loving it - what other choice is there - despite what Repubs and scientists think - thanks for the new knowledge about Georgia L
I always wondered what Sasquatch puke looked like. Now I know.

I bet the Kleenex Corp. loves spring in Atlanta. :)
my son opened his hotel patio last weekend. I am sitting here freezing.
whats up with that is right.
I am sneezing now looking at it.

The 9,738 sounded like the song in the Broadway show RENT..:)
We're a month ahead here too. The temp outside today is 75. Nice...BUT... unnatural. Next things you know: tornadoes. We already get some in places they never happened before.
OK, call me weird, but my favorite line in this piece is: "The entire car looks like a Sasquatch threw up on it." If the stuff produced from our collective Atlanta noses could be used for energy, Atlanta would be the new Middle East. Good one, L.
My car is green right now. Pollen is everywhere and I am so glad I'm not allergic. Terri, not so much~
The weather scares me. Like a canary in a tunnel it is chirping away for the moment, but ....
I feel your pain, Lezlie. I am popping Allegra every day (works good during the day--no drowsiness) and Tylenol allergy complete at night to sleep. In the 60s in NYC.
Aahhh choo! The hot is getting hotter and the cold is getting colder and they are colliding in superstorms. Climate Change is real.
It has been 80 and mostly in the high 70's here in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota. New records set every day. Just think, the sunbelt is moving North.
rated with love and hope that you can get that stuff off your car.
I live pretty near Joyce Kilmer National Forest, and believe me, there are some lovely trees there. It is the only old growth forest that remains in the eastern US.

As for tree pollution, it'snot quite so lovely.
Last paragraph: exactly.

I have spent much of March here in suburban NY going outside without a coat during the day. That's ridiculous. It sure is pleasant, but I know the long-term effects are not good.
Ohhhh I remember that damned Atl pollen and what it did to my car! rated!!
Rave ooonnn, after you catch your breath. I'm looking at a foot of snow on the ground up here on the mountain and after I finish with OS I have to dig out the stairs, the drive and my car. I'll be aching tonight.
eeeww. And we've already started complaining about the heat here in Minnesota. Last year we had a major snow storm at this time - which is normal for March. (previously normal?)
I'm certainly enjoying the last days of my Illinois winter in flip flops and a sleeveless shirt and flowering trees all abloom. But I'm a little afraid of what it portends for summer.
Any day now in Virginia - Tidewater, anyway. It's the pine pollen that does the number on us. My eyes are already itching, so I figure the pollen scouts have already deployed.
odd, just odd here lately
and your *achoo* *achoo* *achoo* picture- I swear my eyes started watering just looking at that mess
Sounds like you have too many trees there.

Start cutting!
We get the same greenish yellow coating on our vehicles here in Texas. As a result my eyes are glow in the dark red and itch so bad I'm close to plucking them out and being done with them. My only relief (RX drops aren't helping) is to flush them with BioTrue, a product made for contact lenses. I just keep the pollen washed out.
BTW, we are supposed to be +/- 10,300 tomorrow. It is low today because of the storms that rolled through last night.
L,sorry, I understand your ρroblem but I with Kilmer in this..I had never read his work and I thank you for sharing it here.What a lovely thought..."Trees..A ρoem lovely as a tree" He is so right..Hoρe it gets better..Beautiful work..Best regards.
Lezlie, I was thinking about doing a similar post, but I'm way too lazy. Must be this warm weather. :-)

Dogwoods blooming on St. Patrick's Day!? It's crazy. Summer clothes will be coming down from the attic this weekend. I'm at work today, sans socks or tights. In all my 23 years in Nashville, this is a first.
May your sasquatch always vomit sweetly.
I'm enjoying the chill. Also a fan of the satquatch puke.

Fine pos,t but I think Mr. Kilmer might be a missus.
In Texas it's cedar -- and it's bad and my white car is green even as we speak.....

short and interesting article on the melting of the polar ice caps. Its real and its here and the changes are accelerating.
I thought the global warming deniers had finally seen the light. No?
Fernsy: No, he is in fact a Mr. I remembered it from my American Lit course in high school, but I double checked just to be sure. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joyce_Kilmer
Many names, like mine for instance, were once exclusively used for males: Shirley, Vivien, Carroll, Beverly and Joyce.
Frosty: Nope, they're still calling it a myth.
I'll bet it will break 10K soon enough. In the meantime, carry around saline nasal spray (in the allergy aisle at the pharmacy) because it will help keep your sinuses hydrated, lessening any potential allergy issues.
I have a great-aunt named Floyd.
I'm so with you on this. Cherry blossoms in DC blooming way ahead of schedule also, I think by two weeks. And yet people refuse to see what is happening.
Snow in Seattle.
Well, not today - but 2 days ago.
My Forsythia is in full bloom and the tulips are 4 inches high. It makes me sick. /r
Lezlie, thanks for the education. I had no idea how pollen counts were conducted. Everything has telescoped this year. We have a Japanese magnolia that typically blooms the first week in March which it did this year. There is usually a 2-3 week perios after the blooms fall off before the azaleas bloom. The petals just fell off and azaleas are already blooming. The dogwoods haven't started here yet. It's a little higher in elevation, and farther north here. Maybe the dogwood festival can move north a couple of hours. One good thing to come out of this may be an intense but shortened pollen season. An 'expert' at the U. of Ga. said that instead of 5 weeks of misery we may only have 3 this year. R
Could it be that global warming
Caused the pollen's early swarming?
But nevertheless the pollen has fallen
And L is sullen

Can never come too early
Or too late
Or too on time
To extend the rhyme

Sneeze not as you dwell in sorrow
Whilst you pine for a cleaner tomorrow

By the way, does this count as an OS dust-up?
Paul: LOL! This is the closest thing to an OS dustup I'll ever partcitipate in.
Oops. Apologies to you and Mr. Joyce Kilmer.
Scene in this movie "Little Murders" where the wife says to her husband, " Carol. Carol" and he says " Don't call me Carol.It's a women's name" She says, "But that's your name. What should I call you?" and he replies, " Just call me "dear."
I found that so funny so I left such a long comment
How does it feel to have taken on the sobriquet The Sasquatch Vomit Girl? Everyone loves that observation, as do I. You can sign your stuff SVG now.

OK, Dedicated to Linda S:

Nine thousand three hundred seventy-eight Particles of Pollen
I figure half of them have gone up my nose
Nine thousand three hundred seventy-eight Particles of Pollen
The rest have landed on my car and my clothes

They're swirling
And whirling
They're greenish
I'm squeamish
Can't seem to keep the damned things out of my eyes
Nine thousand three hundred seventy-eight Particles of Pollen
How much I hate them can't come as a surprise

Talkin' 'bout
Duuuu uuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuu ust
It's nature's
Duuu uuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuu ust
Kvetchin' 'bout
Duuu uuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuu ust
Kosh: OMG, I love it when you wax poetic! I've got to make sure Linda S. gets back here to see this.
Now this made my day Kosher..
האם תרצה לרקוד איתי?

Google that everyone..:)
My heart is with you.

However, here in Texas we are enjoying a window opening lovely spring. Yet everything with fruit has become a mind bending puzzle. The grapfruit trees which have their largest fruit by February are showing HUGE softball size treats falling to the ground, while the trees are sporting new golfball size babies. It is stressing the citrus population, but it occurs every 7 years and the bible enthusiasts will admonish you should you complain.

I love the photos, they brought me here to see what the number meant.

Oh, bless you. (as I stifle my own sneeze)
Linda: Wow, that's impressive -- Hebrew, no less. I'll bet he's blushing.
Lezlie.. If someone took the time to be so kind I had to up the anty..

I'm afraid I can't translate it. I'm pretty sure I can figure out how to pronounce it but I'm guessing at the vowels.
(I'd probably have slightly better odds in Yiddish, though not screamingly better)
Kosh: So Google it like I did!
Sally Swift could probably translate it. There's a chance Traveller could. Now, if Jerusalem Mike were still around....
I tried. I got question marks when I tried to copy it and I'm not sure enough of the phonetics to get it right in Roman alphabet.
Ha'im tirtseh lircod iti?
So THAT'S how they count pollen -- I had no idea! Cool! I just learned something! (I used to get horrible hay fever, but since menopause I'm practically hay fever free! I'm not sure I would have made the trade if offered, I kind of liked the firm skin more than I hated the allergies. Here in the foothills of CA it's oak pollen that covers our windshields...)
Kosher, if I can get it together time wise I will do a blog at the end of the week and dedicate it to you here on OS.

God help us all if there is some celebrity protest and then I will be other wise engaged.. BUT I have been thinking of something while I make the non practicing Hebrew person in my life dinner.
I read Hebrew. Linda is saying Ha im tirzeh lirkod iti. My hebrew has gotten rusty but It means, " Would you want to dance with me"

Your welcome ;(
Fernsy: The translation I found was a bit more forward than that. :D
The birds are already building their nests. I really hope that a change in weather back to more normal temperatures won't hurt nature too much.
We are just getting a normal rainy spring. I am hoping it does not go all the way into July, like last year and ruin the crop blossoms or fruit.

But geez, I have never heard of such prehistoric pollen. It's just Jurassic! (That's what I call stuff that is natural, but out of control).
Oh my goodness, Lezlie! I thought the pollen here was unbearable. ~r
Those photos make the point! Geez!

It's creepy-warm here in Wisconsin. I've never suffered allergies (knock wood), but I can hear my poor husband sneezing and sniffling the next room as I type this.
I'm a pretty firm believer in global warming so long as the vast majority of climate scientists are, and they are. But what's the connection between record pollen counts and a moved up summer? I can understand the pollen arriving sooner but why in greater volume?

And maybe there's some plants that normally doesn't bloom until June that can stand in for the dogwood.
Thank you! I am creeped out by the whole situation!!!
Fernsy and Lezlie, thanks for translation help.

Linda, thank you, but my wife might object
Actually, the translation was the same verbatim. If more forward, you read the next expression over.
Abra: It has to do with conditions. We had a better than normal rainfall for the first time in years, little or no true winter weather and sudden unseasonably warm days and cool nights. A perfect storm, I guess. The plants are confused and are blooming all at the same time instead of their usual spacing.

Kosh: Ooops. My bad. :(
What keeps you there? Although I've heard the city is beautiful, I wouldn't like the crowds. Did you move there for your job? Good post!
This makes my eyes water, my throat itch, and the sneezes form just reading it!
Excellent observations, Lezlie! I'm not a big believer in global warming because any 'true' study will show - whether patterns have been cyclic - historically. On the other hand - maybe mother nature is just pissed right off at her chillins - and is making it clear that she's had enough and won't take it no more! We've upset the balance of power with all our technology - and it's bound to come back and...bury us!
Tell me about it L, it is the same for us and we are a good six hundred miles north and west of you. Hell MY azaleas are blooming and that usually doesn't happen til May. Meanwhile we are looking at our seventh straight day of record high temps for March not to mention the storms that are insanely violent this year already.
OK, fine, just for you, L, I'll call upstairs; this time about the weather. R