Spring in the Swamp

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(resting on a cool, early Spring morning)

Yes the temperatures outside are climbing after the six days or so of winter we had this season.  The local air force of gnats and mosquitoes are warming up, promising us a season filled with West Nile virus, malaria and now the Zika virus.  But before we get to those heart-warming events we have to get through one simple issue – tree pollen.

I looked at the local Weather Channel’s report telling me that we are in the Red Zone for pollen inundation.  No kidding.  David Carradine could breathe easier here on his last day on earth than what we can get into our lungs now.  (What?  Too soon?).  Every one of my co-workers and neighbors are sneezing, coughing while looking up with their red-stained, watery eyes and wondering when will be the next time they can take their allergy meds before getting behind the wheels of their vehicles.

Fortunately it rained earlier today and more is planned over the next 24 hours.  The local ponds and ditches look like the yellow version of the Exxon Valdez oil slick which I am thankful for.  I noted that the color is a mix of bright yellow and light green, which tells me the oaks AND the pine trees have all decided to procreate at the same time.  Lovely.

In the next few weeks I have so much more to look forward to for our spring activities.  As the temperatures get above 65, the local gators come out of their hibernation hungry and looking for love.  Soon, six to ten foot gators will be found resting in the local ditches just after being beaten up by much bigger gators.  They will be grumpy and most likely in need of relocation.  Maybe if I am lucky enough I can watch our resident eight-fingered gator collector come by and “harvest” a bull gator to relocate to another place (or his fridge).

I am sure you may be laughing at this stage of the article, but the sad thing is, I am being totally accurate in my descriptions of the Swamp has it awakens from its brief winter nap.  Oh sure, the locals will point out that the azaleas are now blooming and the dogwoods are also in blossom – that’s all and well, but I am more concerned about the hungry snakes looking for their first meals along with the starving wild pigs that seem to have taken a liking to my front lawn.

Yes I said pigs.  Call animal control?  Nope they won’t help.  They don’t “do” hogs.  Call the local constables?  Nope.  They will tell you that if these pigs are on your lawn you are allowed to shoot them.  I guess it is a new form of the Stand Your Ground Law against everything porcine.  My concern is if you do decide to shoot one of these hogs best have an escape plan as you will need it after you tick them off by your feeble attempt at lead poisoning.  Go at them with an RPG or just let them root out their next meal in peace.  Besides, if you miss and hit your neighbor’s house that creates a whole new set of issues.

Also with Spring comes the wind and the rain.  The wind never blows when you need it to – like in the summer when the temperatures are set to London broil.  Just living on the other side of the river from the state listed as the Lightning Capital of the country means that the storms will come in quick and sharp.  True we may not get the tornadoes as much as some other places in the south, but if one does not keep a weather eye to the sky you can be caught in some unfortunate situations.

For example today the winds are coming out of the Southwest around 10-15 knots.  This is the perfect conditions for a weather front packing wind, rain and any form of destructive weather that goes along with it.  Forget those gentle sea breezes that blow in the summer and fall, this is a “hang on to your hats” and other body parts as the rain is clearly on its way.  Yes it is flushing the pollen out of the air, but just as long as you do not get soaked before that sudden dose of electricity hits, all should work out just fine.

So here is the basic info about this time of year.  Just stay inside.  Hopefully you have HEPA filter in your office or home or you will begin to sound like a patient from a tuberculosis ward.  If you do go outside be sure you have watched the Weather Channel.  Not that I am a disciple of this network, but I do think some of the weather guys spend a little too much time outside some days.  When you are outside stay away from the areas where the pigs roam and the gators crawl – that is a good place to start.  And when you go outside be sure to wear the proper apparel – clothing in light layers and a gas mask for the pollen.

Such is life in the Swamp.

pollen masks2

(ready for work)

pollen masks

(school kids at play)

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