Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Detente would be good enough for me.


I can almost hear the oak trees whispering "Reya must die!" Actually, I think they're shouting.

Diplomacy is an excellent skill to cultivate. It really benefits interactions among our own species, or at least it can. Yesterday and today I'm wondering whether it's possible to negotiate successfully between humans and plants. Is it? Of course many plants are already our allies, so there's no need for diplomacy there.

But what about the plants that are openly aggressive towards our species? No one would ever say that poison ivy, for instance, is a great ally, right? Do we try to seek a peaceful relationship with poison ivy? Never. Right? Everyone I know, when encountering poison ivy, puts on big gloves, then yanks it out of the ground without a second thought. End of story.

In a blog I read yesterday, the writer was trying to figure out how far she should go to accommodate a wasp who decided to build a nest in a porch planter. (She decided against allowing it, flooded the nest when the wasp had flown away.)

My quarrel with the oak trees is seasonal. During the summer they are great allies, providing cool circles of shade that protect me against the hideous DC summer sun. They're beautiful to look at in all seasons, quite regal, in fact. But in spring when they are pollinating, they are NOT my friend. Like the Hatfields and McCoys, we just don't get along.

The common wisdom among humans is that we should tank up with antihistamines and pretend we're allies even if we aren't. I'm all for tanking up on herbs and drugs, but I also very consciously avoid their territory. I want to be respectful, even though I admit that I do feel mighty hostile towards them at this time of year. Sad but true is that when the breeze blows, oak pollen can travel far and wide. Sometimes pollen from a particular oak is found forty miles away, or so I learned this morning. Hence I'm thinking there's no avoiding them, no matter what, especially in DC where there are a million of them.

You see all of this is my attempt to lift my annual allergy whinge to the level of philosophy. Pathetic attempt, eh? OK. I'll stop now.


Loved these little girls on scooters and tiny bikes, zipping around the periphery of Lincoln Park last night, clearly oblivious to the lurking presence of oak pollen.

26 comments:

lacochran said...

The hornets have decided that our front porch is the best place to be. We agree. Sigh...

willow said...

Those little girls, in their springy pinks, are so adorable!

ellen abbott said...

well, at least it's only temporary.

Barry said...

I love your philosophic musings.

And your photography.

Mrsupole said...

Truly you are blessed to only have seasonal allergies. I am allergic to just about every thing and every plant.

I think the trees are whispering "Reya will live, we are bothersome, but Reya will live."

Allergies are a pain but thank goodness today they have things that help us overcome these hurdles. Life is wonderful and allergies are not so bad, we live with them all the time.

In the wintertime, I would hug an Oak tree and then ask it to blow the pollen in another direction, maybe Mother Oak will bless you next year.

The girls look like they are having lots of fun and are so cute.

God bless.

Reya Mellicker said...

I have kind of a sketchy history with not only the trees themselves, but also with people named Oak. There are a number of them who are part of the old community I was involved with in S.F. With the humans named Oak as well as with the trees themselves, I have a love/hate relationship.

Lacochran, are you going to dispatch the hornets? Sometimes it comes down to that. As for me, I believe the oaks could dispatch me, they really could.

But enough of this. My goodness!

Linda Sue said...

The children are so adorable- great capture!
Maybe you could take a holiday during the allergy season- go to the desert for a couple of weeks. Go to the rain forest on the peninsula and when you return the pollen would have been gathered and taken away on the backs of bees...

Kerry said...

After being attacked by hornets more than once, I have little sympathy for them! But plant and pollen allergies: what a drag, year after year. Do the blossoming cherry trees bother you, or is it just oak pollen?

Angela said...

I grew up on dirt fields in Hamburg, mostly places where the houses had been bombed down and then were cleared, but I still found lots of old cups and things on them. I picked flowers there and even ate some. I guess no allergy had a chance to catch me in such surroundings. They say that farm children who play in cow sheds and are never really clean, are the healtiest. Too late now, I guess, Reya? I love oak trees, but no wonder, they don`t harm me.

lakeviewer said...

So sorry to hear about your allergies! Ouch! Detente is good, but your need to breathe and to live come first!
So, take your meds, wear a mask, stay indoors until all this fruitful explosion subsides.

Kerry said...

ok, I'm back. I just read the following article, which gives some suggestions for cities to follow:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/opinion/06ogren.html

Dan Gurney said...

Now I know why you don't live around here. As beautiful as Sonoma County is, we're famous for our prodigious pollen levels. I had no problem with allergies until moving here. Now I can relate better.

As far as poison ivy... I have a friend who says she is entirely immune to poison oak (which I think, is a close relative).

Personally, while I am very very allergic to poison oak and avoid touching it, I admire its ability to protect itself. Poison oaks is a master chemist/alchemist who can concoct protective oils from its wisdom and the minerals, sun, water, and air it finds close at hand.

They are master magicians whose work I admire and avoid.

Deborah said...

what Barry said
with all my love

ewix said...

Was beyond wowed by your iris below.
Poor you with the wretched allergies
NY Times was writing today about planting less allergy inducing trees on the streets.
They suggested elms. (Replacing those lost to Dutch elm)
Yes, the little girls were having fun.
I wish YOU were.
Warm here at last!

Ronda Laveen said...

Those little girls are so totally oblivious to the oaks.

I remember the year I gained true respect for the power of the oaks and their disire to procreate. There was an oak tree right next to the Doughboy pool we had in the back yard in those days. One morning, I laid out and sunned while reading for a couple of hours. That afternoon I got so sick. Couldn't breathe. Throat closing off a bit. Ears ringing.

I finally figured out that I had OD'd on oak pollen. From then on, I stayed out of their way as much as possible when they're getting it on.

Theresa said...

Hi Gold Puppy. Happy to find this interesting blog. I went to grad school in DC. What a trip to live there.

Tom said...

Reya, nature isn't nearly as forgiving as you are--for sure the mighty oak would crush you without a second thought...but in our infinite wisdom we have concluded there is no life without the curse or blessing of nature, alas...there is no sneezing on the moon, but who wants to live there!

And i'm ok with dispatching the wasp...let them live somewhere besides my porch.

k-brow said...

I'm so wrestling with this concept, as I rip up English Ivy, and just staged a carpenter bee extermination to prevent them from eating my wooden house! I try really hard to practice ahimsa, but gosh, I love my wooden roof beams.

Memory Echoes said...

And I thought the pollen situation here was extreme!

It's interesting that a substance intended to create life can make other life forms so miserable. Those pollen-producing oaks also produce oxygen, and this time of year, you'd almost think they were exacting some kind of oxygen tax on a chosen few.

I read that same blog. I like to think I'd have moved the pot, with the nest, away from my abode. Killing ... so much simpler. No new insights there.

Here's hoping that the pollen of the oaks relents so you can breathe deeply again in peace!

Memory Echoes said...

Or "Destruction ... so much simpler." More accurately.

Reya Mellicker said...

They are master magicians whose work I admire and avoid.

Oh yeah. Dan was talking about poison oak, but he could just as well have been describing the rutting oak trees.

Ronda, I think of it just like you do. They are getting it on, seriously! Whew.

Kerry I am allergic only to oak and grass pollens. If I had money I would probably tank up on serious prescription meds or take shots or maybe travel to another location during the season. Alas.

Though next year I might have health insurance in which case it will be a very different season. Hope so!!

steven said...

oh reya i love the little girl energy scooting down the street. the trees - well, they're friends but some of their proceses make me look at them and wonder. steven

janis said...

OMGosh! I loved this!
ps... Also loved the photo of the Cutie Patuties!

Nancy said...

I feel for you! Lucky not to have allergies, I always feel bad for those not as fortunate in the spring, especially.

I'm thrilled you may be coming my way this summer! Yay! More time to chat this year - yeah?

Dan Gurney said...

Kids. Allergies. I can't stop myself.

Here, Reya:

Alex's Allergy


Alex had an allergy
that no one could explain.
It made him wheeze and cough and sneeze
and moan and groan in pain.

A single slight exposure,
and he'd start to squawk and squeal.
A second time ensured
that he'd be barking like a seal.

He'd salivate and slobber
as his nose began to twitch.
He'd squirm and say his body felt
like one gigantic itch.

At last they found the cause,
which Alex thought was pretty cool.
So now he stays at home;
he is allergic to his school.

--Kenn Nesbitt

Reya Mellicker said...

OMG Dan - that is hilar!!