The tension is palpable. Can you feel it? Settling down over us like a suffocating canopy of goo.
I’m talking about pine pollen.
Every year those giant telephone poles that surround my hearth and home, get together to plot this revolution. Boasting an impressive and nearly unlimited arsenal of tiny, green allergy bombs, they quietly gather strength and then…Pow! Explode with menacing force.
This is a familiar concept for me.
No. Not because I’m a military brat. No. Not because the Ft. Bragg re-landscaping committee regularly rattles my windows and glassware.
I understand the sudden emergence of a powerful enemy invasion because I am a redhead.
To be more concise, I am a redhead with freckles.
Like those complacent trees, my pert nose and shoulders, arms and legs – actually every exposed body part – bides its time through the slumbering winter. Contained by wool sweaters and zero milligrams of natural Vitamin D, my raging case of summer spots fades away like a beautiful sunset.
I may not be the tallest or the shortest gal in town. I’m surely not the richest or the poorest, or the most talented chick on the block.
But I guarantee you that I hold the unofficial land speed record for the fastest freckles.
Give me ten minutes in broad daylight and I’ll score a solid 10,000 hits of pure concentrated melanin magic. Give me ten hours of prolonged exposure and my personal points of light easily rival Carl Sagan’s starry universe – that is, billions upon billions.
Unfortunately along with a propensity for spots, I inherited the strong geek gene that runs strong in my family and do nerdy things, like quote Sagan. I also opted for a minor in biology during my college years . In itself this didn’t seem like such a bad decision but through that pursuit I amassed a mental library of all manner of unsavory botanical and bodily functions.
To wit, freckles are actually physical evidence of a life and death battle at the cellular level to protect its fragile DNA contents from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Picture a tiny beach umbrella shading a microscopic nucleic picnic basket. And you just thought they were cute.
In an ostentatious display of consolidated power, the pine pollen horde has absolutely nothing over this freckled redhead.
Laura Douglass writes for the Seven Lakes Times where this column originally appeared.