Hay Fever and Hummingbirds

Rufous Hummingbird Hovering Near Cattails

I am entering into the time of Hay Fever this year. Every year, the grass season hits, and my eyes start to itch and water, my sinuses swell and run and itch. I feel depleted, and I just want to weep. Everyone else gets to enjoy the glorious weather, have barbeques, and garden while I cower inside with the doors and windows sealed shut praying for the drought to begin.

This year, I decided a few weeks ago I wasn’t going to let allergies get me down. I’ve taken a wide variety of over the counter and prescription medications through the years. Mine is a body that’s just not receptive to that kind of medicine; none of them worked for more than one season, and most worked for a dose or two at best. Pharmaceuticals just aren’t in the cards for me.

I’ve tried a lot of herbs, too. Some, like elecampane, have helped push back the first attack. Others, like nettle may fortify my system but don’t do much to lessen the grass family’s overt effects on my nasal passages. Even traditional therapies, like acupuncture, only ease the worst of the symptoms temporarily. Hay Fever may be just a fact of life for me like birth, death, and taxes if I stay in the valley.

Today, I began dreaming of living in the desert, at least for the months of May and June, when the grass pollen is the worst for me. Why can’t I live like Georgia O’Keefe or any number of other artists who made two homes for themselves through out the year? How I long to rent a cabin in the desert for a month this year, far from grassy lawns and fields of hay and straw. If only our economy supported such an extravagance for an average Jane like me.

Alas, this year isn’t going to be the year I escape allergies. Instead of packing it in and running for Bend, Sisters, or Redmond, I decided to ease the my itchy eyes with a couple slices of cucumber (yes, they actually do cool and relieve itching), listen to the world buzzing with activity around me, and ponder the message that hummingbird I spied yesterday delivered.

My hummingbird friend, a male Rufous Hummingbird, zipped about my yard as if on a mission. He stopped by the wheel barrow and gave it a real good look before zipping off again. As much as I love being outdoors and as much as I fantasize about gardening, I think he was oh so politely pointing out that actually doing so is a waste of my energy. Hummingbirds need to use their energy wisely. It takes a lot of calories to fuel their expert flight. Given how small they are and how little they can chew off at a time, it always amazes me how much they do with what they have.

Rather than fighting my body’s predilections, I’m sheltering from the pollen for the rest of this season. I made as good a stand as I could up until Memorial Day weekend. Hay Fever won out again, but only if I think of it as a battle. If I listen to the wisdom of Hummingbird, Hay Fever gave me a pretty good excuse to spend some time inside contemplating, creating, and resting.

And maybe I’ll actually get that laundry folded before its time to wash clothing again, too.

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