May 11th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

Oaks

Des Moines used to be an oak forest, before humans settled extensively here, and to a large extent, it still is. The city is dense with oak trees. Three of them surround the home I grew up in, where I am now.

Oaks are messy trees. There is pollen in the spring, acorns by the bushel load in the late summer and early fall, followed by masses of leaves which stain the concrete brown when it rains. Now is the height of pollen season, and it falls like a light but steady rain shower on the driveway and grass. The pollen accumulates in piles and mounds. It sticks to the concrete when there's a bit of water to matte it down.

My mother was hosting an event this evening, and so this morning, I swept half of the driveway before I ran out of time before lunch. By mid-afternoon, you couldn't even tell where I'd already swept, so much more pollen had fallen. So I swept again, the whole driveway this time, and close enough to when the guests arrived that, at least when they came, if not when they left, the driveway looked largely presentable.

My sister, poor girl, is both allergic and asthmatic. She was so happy that the part of the country she's currently living in was finally out of pollen season. When she comes home this weekend, she'll need her drugs to keep her breathing.

And by morning, you won't be able to tell that I swept the driveway again.