Sunday, June 8, 2014
Early that morning I had opened the doors and windows to cool the house. I was sitting at the computer when I suddenly began sneezing. At one point I thought my brain was going to shoot out of my nose. I bet I sneezed twenty times in a row. Breathless, I didn't know what to do, or why I was suddenly stuffed up and my eyes were watering so bad I couldn't see. I washed my face, felt better and thought it was just some weird aberrant event.
As the day went on, the valley below the house changed from clear to a sort of dusty hue. I figured it was just the dirt from the vineyards being stirred by the wind. By Friday night the house was so hot I had to leave the bedroom windows open just for some airflow. In the middle of the night I began to sneeze again...over and over. I actually dunked my entire head under the kitchen faucet. My eyes were burning and itching like I'd been showered with pepper spray.
Saturday, walking the boys at the VA, the wind is still howling, leaves blowing everywhere, limbs falling and again I'm insanely sneezing, but now so are both the dogs. WTF is going on?
On the way home I stop at Walgreen's. I can hardly breathe, my eyes are watering, nose stuffy and yet also running--how does that make sense? I go to the pharmacist's window and explain what's happened to me. He smiles, hands me a package of Claritin from a stack on the counter, tells me half the town has been in and there's nothing to do but wait it out. Wait what out?
Turns out the tree pollen count is in the extreme red zone. Over the past few days my area has been hit with the worst pollen in the entire nation, blown into every nook and cranny--and nostril--by the wild unseasonable winds. Well, who knew? I've never had hay fever or pollen allergies in my life.
I don't like to take meds; the closest I get to pills are vitamins, but by the time I get home, nose red and sore, throat scratchy, eyes burning...I decide I would rather forego the body/temple stance than drop dead when my head explodes. And thankfully, the Claritin actually works.
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This afternoon whilst talking to the BFF for our usual Sunday phone chat, I watched a spectacular airshow, put on by the vultures. The wind is still intense, and the birds, usually drifting lazily on the gentle thermals that arise from the valley heat, have been diving and racing like Stealth fighter planes at speeds that are breathtaking. These guys get such lift from their huge wings that they rarely have to flap or expend much energy; they're experts at the slow, easy spiral.
But not now. Now they're crossing the valley in seconds, wings tucked close, heads down as they rocket over the landscape, feathers rippling in the air currents. I watched two of them spin and dart, dive close to each other, then twist away at the last moment...all at Mach 4. How wild and crazy it must be for such large birds to race with the wind when they're usually so calm and placid. I bet in vulture-speak, they were laughing like lunatics, their hearts pounding with the unexpected thrill of it.
Mine was, just watching them...