This past weekend found me enjoying the 6,000-plus acres of the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, where I attended a scrapbooking retreat with 13 of my Athens crafty friends and where new friends were made.

I had never been there before and found it a much-needed getaway, where the only sounds outside were birds chirping, an occasional bullfrog down by the pond and the soft breeze in the trees. The world is pretty crazy right now, and it was a lovely respite from 24/7 news of the current health crisis. Phone service was sketchy, at best, and the internet was even worse, so it was nice to relax a little bit and enjoy being creative. If you ever get a chance to visit, it’s only about an hour from here, and it’s a great day trip for hiking, letter boxing and geocaching.

With every ache, pain, cough, headache, or the slightest warm forehead, we begin to worry and/or panic. Monday morning, my eyes felt scratchy, and my nose/sinuses started acting up. I just didn’t feel well. So, like everyone else, my first thoughts turned to the virus. But I quickly remembered my discovery on Sunday morning as I was loading my supplies back into my car.

Pollen. Yes, a very noticeable dusting of pollen on my dark blue car. Enough to write my name in, if I wanted to. Really? Isn’t this a little early for pollen?

Is there anyone on the planet who hasn't seen Cecil B. DeMille's version of "The Ten Commandments?" Was Charlton Heston the greatest Moses ever, or what? (I also loved "The Prince of Egypt," the cartoon version of Moses and truly had a religious experience while watching in the theatre. I'm being serious here. It was amazing!) At any rate, you'll remember the scenes involving the plagues brought upon Egypt when Pharaoh refused to obey God and "Let My People Go." There were locusts, frogs, boils, lice, blood, etc. 

Here in the South, we experience our own plague. Pollen. Sometimes of Biblical proportions. 

"Pollen here, pollen there. 

Pollen, pollen, everywhere. 

In my hair, up my nose,

All around the pollen goes."

Well, OK, so I'm no Dr. Seuss poet, but that's about the gist of it.  In the movie, when the plague of death comes, we see it as a green cloud descending from heaven that permeates the earth. Here in Georgia, if you look toward the horizon, you will see a yellow cloud that almost looks like smoke in the distance. Little gusts of wind will whip up a little pollen tornado out of nowhere. 

So it begins. Pollen season. A necessary inconvenience, if our planet is to survive. I sure hope there is no shortage of Puffs. Or Benadryl. I’m not sure we can survive without toilet paper and Puffs!

Cathy Watkins Bennett is a Barrow County native and a graduate of Winder-Barrow High School. Send comments about this column to bencath@aol.com.

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