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.
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.
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.
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.