What annual event does every Wake Forest resident dread? What is it that has us all praying for rain? POLLEN!!!
The powdery yellow stuff blankets Wake Forest for a few days every Spring as the multitudes of pine trees in our pretty little town attempt to reproduce. It piles up like snow drifts against the garden hoses that are stretched out watering the lawn, leaving twin yellow snakes on the sidewalk wherever the hose has lain. You can see it swirl up and around with every step through the grass. Cars get a thick coat of yellow dust that just begs kids and kids-at-heart alike to write and draw messages, allowing the original color of the poor car to be seen for just a brief period of time before more pollen settles on it. For the Facebook-addicted crowd, it’s even spawned a new fan page: “I hate pollen”!
As a native North Carolinian, the pollen is just a part of Spring to me. It heralds the coming of Spring events in Wake Forest, like Herb Fest, the Wake Forest Farmer’s Market, and my all-time favorite Wake Forest event, Meet in the Street in Downtown Wake Forest! I know that it’ll be dusty, yucky and yellow outside for a week or so, and then it will just fade away into oblivion until the following year. However, there are many in Wake Forest who did not grow up with this seasonal rite of passage, and it can be quite surprising to them. My husband’s family is from Texas, and it was something they had never seen before living here. They moved back to Texas a few years ago, and my husband actually asked me to send them an email and some pictures of this year’s pollen with the message: “Bet you don’t miss this!”
Why did he want me to send the message and pictures THIS year? Because the “yearly yellow invasion”, as WRAL news anchor Cullen Browder called it, is particularly bad this year. According to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the pollen count in Raleigh today was the highest in six years. WRAL has some amazing video footage at www.wral.com/news/local/video/7363108 that actually shows helicopter footage of the yellow haze hanging over Downtown Raleigh and floating through a neighborhood in Cary. If you haven’t seen enough of it on your own car and in the parking lots at your office, grocery store, and the like, you can see more on this video. Those of you who are—ahem—“enjoying” the pollen in Wake Forest for the first time, take heart: it is NOT always this bad, and it WILL be over soon! Welcome to Wake Forest!