Finally! It looks as though we have survived the persistent late effects of winter and sprung into spring! We are gearing up for the USTA State Championships and practicing whenever we get a spare moment. We are also in the middle of our ALTA season and laser focused on what it takes to win our division. So, understandably, tensions are high (Note to self: Get racquets re-strung.) and everyone is a little anxious, juggling court time with obligations to family and friends that this time of year always seems to host. Weddings, graduations, recitals, church celebrations, MOTHER’S DAY and the like make this time of year so exciting and stressful. And did I mention that the azaleas are in full bloom? Gorgeous and flooding our cityscape with brilliant hues of pinks, purples, whites and corals while adorning all of our “stressful” activities with a southern floral bouquet like no other. But it also means that everything else is in bloom in the southeast.
According to Sparknotes.com regarding the life cycle of plants, "fertilization in plants occurs when haploid gametes meet to create a diploid zygote, which develops into an embryo. In gymnosperms (conifers) and angiosperms (flowering plants), the meeting of the gametes occurs in the following way: male gametes are enclosed in pollen grains and are carried by wind or insects to the female reproductive organs. The final product of fertilization--the embryo--is encased in a seed.”
Ugh. I feel like I just walked in on my parents!
So, basically, it’s mating season for all the gynmosperms and angiosperms and there is no subtlety to the process. No serenading, no hand-holding or quite whisperings of sweet nothings. Even the bees are getting into the action pimping out all their favorite flower pistils. It’s an all out free-for-all with regard to nothing short of reckless abandon. Every horny haploid gamete for himself!
And we stand by, as innocent by-standers do, and endure this vegetal fornication. Here is how google presented the pollen forecast for this week:
This means that we will wake up to a blanket (no I didn’t mean “dusting”) of pollen covering cars, driveways, patios, decks and outdoor furniture each morning. Imagine a powdered donut from Dunkin Donuts. That's the kind of coverage I’m talking about. And in Atlanta, you don’t dare pressure wash this stuff away at the first sighting. You have to wait until the last of it has settled. Dealing with pollen removal once a year is more than enough for anyone.
So for a few weeks out of the 52, we live with it. Sneezing, coughing, itching, scratching. Then there are all the side effects which antihistamines and decongestants bring. And for the severely allergic, you may get lucky and only entertain a sinus infection or 2 before it’s all said and done. But for the die-hard pollen warriors, allergy shots are the ticket to weathering this herbaceous orgy.
And, of course, we play in it! Through pollen filled wind gusts we forge. With every bounce of the ball, a plume of this irritant is produced which quickly envelops the ball guaranteeing that once struck with your racquet, a soft dusting will settle upon your face and hands and make you an unlikely party to the process. But the best thing about tennis matches played on pollen veiled courts is that all line calls are conclusive and verifiable! Nature’s own Hawkeye!
No matter. You won’t get much more than a week's worth of complaint from us because during this brief time of the year, temperatures are mild and the state of Georgia is undeniably the most beautiful of them all. So here’s to you, all you diploid zygotes! May you flourish and grow!
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