The Blessing of Pollen

North Carolina is known as the Tar Heel State because from the earliest times of our country, it produced a lot of the country’s tar from the numerous pine trees in its forests. So it is no surprise that we are now in what North Carolinians call “The Yellow Season”––the two weeks in the spring when the pine tree and oak pollen coats everything outside with a fine dusting of yellow pollen.

During these days, children look out and see a magical world, thinking the world has been covered with a layer of golden fairy dust. But adults…not so much. Too many look outside and only see problems. “I have to wash my car,” they complain, or “I have to sweep my patio and dust my lawn furniture,” or “I have to take some antihistimines.” Which is really such a shame. Pollen is Nature’s manifestation of the outflowing of life, of mature trees making new trees, of tree’s creative nature of bringing forth more plants.

There is a saying: no mud, no lotus. Here in North Carolina, the corollary is no pollen, no trees (especially given the rate at which humans are cutting down the existing trees). And where would we be without trees? No trees, no beautiful leafy neighbors around our homes or our parks or our streets or our fields. No trees, no homes for the birds whose songs we love to awaken to in the morning, or for so many of our wild animals. No trees, no leaf canopy or root system to keep the rains from washing away the fertile topsoil that hosts our grass, our flowers, and our vegetables. Worst of all, no trees, no massive vegetable lifeforms to take in the carbon dioxide we produce, from our bodies and from our factories, transportation, and workplaces, and convert it to the oxygen we need to breathe. So really, no pollen, no trees….no trees, no us.

So really, when we see our surroundings covered in pollen, if we can’t see it as magical, at least our response should be gratitude. Gratitude always feels better than grievance.

Actually, I love pollen season––at least the true me, if not my eyes, nose, and throat, which are allergic to much of nature, unfortunately. I have a special practice that I can only do during these rare couple of weeks.

In the morning, when I go out to my car for the first time of the day, the front window glass is doused with yellow powder. So I take my finger and spell out a positive spiritual quality for the day…something like PEACE or POWER or JOY. I drive my car down the driveway and once I get on a major road, I use my windshield wipers to brush the pollen into the air. I feel like I’m sending an intention to create that spiritual quality out into the world. It’s a GREAT way to start off the day! I suggest you try it sometime if you live in a “yellow season” area.

I want to close this post with a poem by one of my favorite spiritual writers, Mark Nepo. This poem reminds me of another reason we should welcome the pollen: the fact that trees can be wonderful spiritual teachers. Here is his poem:

In Muir Woods
by Mark Nepo

Masters of stillness,
masters of light,
who, when cut by something
falling, go nowhere and heal,
teach me this nowhere,
who, when falling themselves,
simply wait to root
in another direction,
teach me this falling.
Four-hundred-year-old trees,
who draw aliveness from the Earth
like smoke from the heart of God,
we come, not knowing
you will hush our little want
to be big;
we come, not knowing
that all the work is so much
busyness of mind; all
the worry, so much
busyness of heart.
As the sun warms anything near,
being warms everything still,
and the great still things
that outlast us
make us crack
like leaves of laurel
releasing a fragrance
that has always been.

From The Way Under the Way: The Place of True Meeting (2016)
by Mark Nepo

All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “The Blessing of Pollen

  1. Dear Carol, Your blogs always leave us special gifts! This one is so wonderful! I will take up your practice of writing in the life giving powder. And I will print, post and share your poem.

    Much love


    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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