Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: The certainty of pollen and taxes

Apr. 13, 2013 @ 08:21 PM

Tomorrow is Tax Day. Have you filled out your forms for Uncle Sam yet? Ours were done and refunds delivered and already spent before the pollen descended on North Carolina with yellow force.
Pollen and taxes. Two things that will be part of a Carolina spring forever and ever. Which is worse?
Paying taxes means, in theory anyway, that we have good roads and schools and law enforcement and social nets that should equal a decent American life. Although, taking everything with a spore of pollen, I know that what I pay into the federal and state tax bank and Social Security and Medicare may not all come back to benefit me. It darn well better make this a better country. We’re all paying it forward, aren’t we? (Smiles grimly.)
Pollen is a menace for those of us with allergies. But, the result is springtime flowers and trees and the circle of life and nature. We can’t continue our lives without the pollen blankets or tax payments. At least we’re distracted by the pretty flowers.
This past week I got in my car each morning and ran the windshield wipers, spraying wiper fluid on the yellow dust that traveled in soggy streams down the side of the glass.
I decided to do some minor pollen research for you, which made my eyes itch by proxy. If you’re allergic, the tree pollen to watch out for are catalpa, elm, hickory, olive, pecan, sycamore and walnut. You know, as if you could control how trees grow and which way the wind blows pollen, which can travel much farther than your yard. The names of the biggest pollen producing weeds sound like names of characters in a children’s storybook: ragweed, curly dock, lambs quarters, pigweed, plantain, sage brush and sheep sorrel, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The NIEHS recommends avoiding going outside between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so everyone should stay home from work I guess? Or wait to go out after it rains.
Early Friday, down came the rain and washed the pollen out. Rain is nature’s car wash. It didn’t rain hard enough, though, and the edges of sidewalks and the bottom half of cars have stubborn pollen trails.
Another pollen list for you – grass pollen that’s worst for allergies: Bermuda grass, Johnson grass, orchard grass, sweet vernal grass, Timothy grass, and, wait for it, Kentucky bluegrass.
I think “sweet vernal grass” could make a nice new Southern swear. “Sweet vernal grass, Marge, Flanders is at it again!” “Sweet vernal grass” belongs up there with “Sweet sassy molassey!” Can anyone tell me who said that phrase on what television show, and what they were making fun of? Hint: sports.
See, pollen can be fun, too. I don’t have any jokes about taxes.
Once the pollen is gone, there’s another natural plague coming our way: cicadas.
Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan may be reached at dvaughan@heraldsun.com or 919-419-6563.