The longest day, the shortest night, and the peak of the grass pollen. At least, I hope it’s the peak, if we get any more my head will probably explode. Pollen, that over produced essence of new plant life, wind borne to facilitate reproduction. In short, the plants are trying to have sex with my nasal passages. Not that they have in any way undertaken this consciously – I assume – but here the pollen is, failing to breed with my nose, which is probably as well.
It’s the time of year I am therefore least inclined to want to be outside, or in a field. An annual reminder that nature is not designed for the convenience of humans in any significant way.
Of course we evolved to deal with a lot more disease and bacteria than the modern human is normally exposed to. Allergies are, to some degree, a consequence of our over clean lives, and underworked immune systems. I’ve never had worms, or pustulant sores, the worst things I’ve had were flu bugs and a dose of tonsillitis. It doesn’t count for much in the scheme of things. In the absence of serious diseases to tackle, my body gets funny ideas about pollen, and here I am, eyes streaming, nose streaming, feeling like there’s a brick on my ribs, and praying for rain. This too shall pass. I wonder how far back this kind of unwellness goes, though. Did our ancient pagan ancestors suffer from hayfever too? Or is it more recent? (What are the odds one of you canny people reading this knows the answer?) I imagine that a prehistoric version of me would have long since been eaten by a passing wolf. Once the sneezing fits are upon me, I am both very obvious, and wholly incapable of shambling away, much less running.
Hail gods of midsummer sun, you who fill my orifices with planty attempts at reproduction, you who make my eyes stream and my throat ache. You who convince me that perhaps winter wasn’t so very bad after all. I am entirely convinced that this world was not created for our benefit. And, wheezing my way about like the proverbial consumptive badger, I don’t feel very confident of there being benevolent deities right now. Well, not benevolent to me. The grasses on the other hand, seem entirely happy – plenty of rain, enough sun, and now a few dry days at just the right time to get the pollen on the wind – there is some wind, but not too much. And why should the deities be benevolent to me? There are a lot more grass plants out there than humans. There are far more bacteria out there than humans. There are plenty of living things for which we function well as demons and destroyers. Perhaps we’ve all been very wrong about where we fit in the scheme of things.