Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Three Seasons of The Beach: Winter, Pollen, and Road Construction

Sometime last Friday, April 20 2007, the nearby trees burst forth in a splendid release of the kind of at-will sexuality that only rampantly pollinating vegetation can enjoy. (What with the lack of human moral compulsion and all.) And my sinuses have been complaining about it ever since.

Which is not to say that anyone should be denied the free execution and expression of their sexuality. After all, pollination is better than chaps, heels, and a rainbow Afro wig. But... POLLEN? It's nearly as vexingly invasive as show tunes.
I try to avoid "allergy medicines" because they're, well, anti-histamines. And I'm trying not to be "anti-" anything these days because I figure the more positive I am, the sooner the negativity around me will implode into itself, taking the bad drivers and voters with it. When I was abroad aboard, the odds that a stray speck of pollen would waft its way into my mucous membranes to cause sneezing and such, were rare. Another unsavory aspect of life on The Beach...
But back to pollinating.
The Beloved and I share our living room with a night-blooming cereus. In its natural habitat, the desert, the cereus ("Madonna" or "Queen of the Night" or "Moon Beauty" or "Moon Bloom") cactus blooms at night, pollinated by the clever little vectors employed in that endeavour, bats. Last Friday night we experienced the first bloom of the season (see purty above). Early this year, but, why not get a jump on things? This gangly succulent will continue to grow unconstrainedly through our sunny living room, blooming all the while, every few weeks or so, right through (if last year is any indication) Christmas.
When the cereus blooms, I become light-headed and sniffly. Not out of emotion, but because I am allergic. Or "acutely immuno-responsive." And, the aroma is anything but subtle. It is heavy, like some European liqueur. Sweet, sickly sweet, treacly sweet. Some plants' blooms have a remarkable freshness. Daffodils, for instance, smell lightly of honey and fresh lawn. Cereus, not so much. Imagine your favorite candy shop. Now imagine its floor. Forever. You get the point.
Cereus handlers often talk about how easy it is to ignore how ungainly and unattractive the plant is, when the plant blooms. And I guess I'm just like any other cereuswain. Plus, the single bloom is only there for one night. And then the sniffling goes away.
Unlike with those randy oaks and beeches.

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