The first couple autumns and the first couple springs I lived in California,
I suffered greatly during the shaking of the almonds at harvest and the bounteous snowy blooms in February. As bad as the worst cold I ever had, the illness from allergy would make me hack and think that I would die. Then I quit smoking, one of the wisest decisions of my life, and the allergies got worse. I alternated between bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinus infections, part of the circle of the seasons.
After nearly twenty years in CA, the almond blossoms bother me a little, but not much while I'm taking the miracle drug Astelin. However, jasmine vine and Texas privet (mainstays in dry-climate landscaping) have taken over as the main offenders, and NOTHING can eliminate that sickeningly sweet odor or the lungs-on-fire sensation of standing next to those plants in full bloom. Today we visited a wonderful water-garden nursery and it was simply gorgeous -- except that they had potted Texas privet everywhere. By the time we were done with our tour, I could not even think clearly, let alone breathe freely, and I really, really wished there was a place to go barf for a while. I know my face and neck will be covered with little allergy pimples tomorrow, just in time for Sunday church.
Alex was suggesting that we dress all in black, as ninjas do, and take a truckload of Tri-ox (a soil sterilant and killer of all plant matter) around town and kill all Texas privets and jasmine plantings. Sounds good to me.
I'm always amazed to see people unaffected by these damned plants. Are they totally invulnerable to every allergen in the world? Or are they accursed by other allergies, such as to cats, or roses, or PG movies?
My eyes are as red as a pot-smoker's, I can't breathe through my nose, and I itch. Still, I have this vision of an unused corner of the yard dug deep and planted with cattails and water lilies, water falling entrancingly from the lips of a fat, vapid frog, with fish swirling in its depths. Yeah, I could dig that.