out from under the pollen


    Through all of our years in Massachusetts, we had more than one Easter that left the children hunting for eggs in the snow. North Carolina offers warmer climes, but snow of a different sort: we’ve been knee deep in pollen. And I’ve sneezed and sorted and snuffled all week long. In my mind’s yellow haze there is room, however, to sing Paul Simon’s song, “Allergies” (from my favorite of his solo albums, Hearts and Bones):

    I go to a famous physician
    I sleep in the local hotel
    From what I can see of the people like me
    We get better
    But we never get well
    So I ask myself this question
    It’s a question I often repeat
    Where do allergies go
    When it’s after a show
    And they want to get something to eat?
    Something’s living on my skin
    Doctor please
    Doctor please
    Open up it’s me again

    I am still in the transition from kitchen to classroom (seven more double shifts to go), so the days have been both stuffy and short. As one who has lived my whole life with allergies of varying sorts, part of the rites of spring is my asking why they have to be part of the mix. On some theological level, it does me good to ask the question because the question calls me to look beyond my misery to any number of more severe circumstances that people live with and through that don’t make any more sense than my sneezing. Not all pain is purposeful; some of it just hurts.

    My relief came in being able to sit down to dinner with Ginger and Cherry and let the evening wind down and another layer of pollen fall while we tightened the bonds with pan-fried cod, good conversation, and a whole lot of laughter. I am looking forward to being home for dinner on a regular basis. While I was cooking tonight, I reached for a couple of James Taylor CDs I had not heard in some time, One Man Dog and Walking Man, which added another layer of memory and meaning to the evening including thoughts of an old friend I miss dearly when I heard:

    Little David, play on your harp
    Hallelu, hallelu, little David
    Play on your harp, hallelujah
    Little David, play on your harp
    hallelu, hallelu, little David
    Play on your harp, hallelujah

    It’s late now. The darkness has fallen heavier than the pollen and I’m still snorting around, trying to the words out of my congested head and into some coherent shape. There’s no earth-shattering message to share, other than to say thanks for a good day and a wonderful evening, even in the middle of a pollen storm.


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