Monday, March 22, 2010

Allergies

Hi - I am still here. It is just that this fog-like exhaustion overtakes me as I plan to write. Actually, that is not the only time. It happens when I am driving, when I return home from work, and at all sorts of inopportune times. Maybe it is the change of the seasons, that limbo period of 'in between.' In fact, now that Spring is officially here, I feel better, more energised, hence I am writing.

A couple of weeks ago I drove up to a yoga retreat. The retreat is held in the beautiful Alexander Valley. This year the countryside is simply magnificent, I had forgotten just how breathtaking Spring is, as it has been so dry the last few years. The creeks gush and gurgle. The hills are clothed in shades of green, and sprinkled with yellow wild mustard flowers. The blossoms are out in purple, pink, and white, and at the retreat site the red flowering quince blossoms tap against the window pane of the dining room, and scented magnolia flowers carpet the deck.

Of course Spring arrives with its attendant allergies, which may account for the exhaustion. As a teenager in South AfricaI I suffered from hay fever and received treatment for my allergies to grass and dust. I think the desensitization shots were still in the beginning stages, and not as closely monitored as they are now. After receiving one set of shots I suffered a rather shocking reaction and almost died. The positive side of that event was that I didn't suffer from allergies again for years. Not in South Africa, not in Israel. I forgot about allergies, and laughed mercilessly when the workers on the kibbutz returned with swollen, streaming eyes and noses from the orchards.

I came to the Bay Area and chose my first rental because of the olive tree in the garden that reminded me of Israel. One spring a friend asked me to house sit for him. I planned to spend the weekend at his home in San Francisco. The first night there I awoke in the wee hours gasping for breath. My eyes watered and itched and I ran onto the balcony gulping in air. I had no idea what had happened to me! A friend came out, took one look at me and said 'you are allergic to the cats.' We had to leave the home, and on the way back to Oakland my breathing became easier. I had never been allergic to cats before. This was upsetting, but okay as I didn't have any cats. However, shortly after that disastrous attempt at house sitting, I began sneezing and itching in my safe haven. I went for allergy tests: cats, household dust, and flowering olive trees!!! I declined the shots and learned to live with my allergies.

Each and every Spring I find an article in the paper as to why, this particular Spring, the allergy season is the worst ever. It is either because of the drought, or the rains, too many or too little, unseasonable heat, or unseasonably cool weather, the fog, or the lack thereof. Whatever, every Spring I begin to sneeze and hear my neighbours sniffing and sneezing, like some bizarre concert. (I live in close quarters with my neigbours.) At work everyone in the office tears, sneezes, clears their throats, and outside, in the parking lot the asphalt is colored yellow from the pollen which falls like a mist from the pine and acacia. When it rains, or, as it has done this year, pours, rivulets of yellow spread like abstract artwork,forming yellow puddles and streaking window shields and cars.

This too, shall pass, an until then I am focusing on the beauty, albeit with a kleenex in hand.

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