An Ode To Allergy Sufferers – Hump Day Haiku

Calistogia SunriseThis week, my husband and I had a haiku-off. Turns out, we both have a lot to say about seasonal allergies. (You’ll find our handiwork dispersed between the paragraphs.) If you’ve ever traveled to or lived in Northern California during spring, you will know that it’s horrendous to allergy sufferers. The only place I’ve been that rivals it, but still takes a backseat, is Eugene, Oregon. Bet ya didn’t know Lane County Oregon (the home of Eugene, Oregon) is a large grower of grass seed. I assume this is for the production of lawns and such. I have no other explanation why anyone would grow grass for seed. Seems rather pointless.

Itchy, swollen eyes.
Snot flowing from my sore nose.
Allergies suck balls.

GrassA few years back, I visited Eugene for my sister’s college graduation. At the time, I was pregnant, and the grass was a’blumin’, as it tends to do in the middle of summer. Being a life-long allergy suffer, I am accustomed to the discomforts associated with pollen season. Under usual circumstances, I would pop an allergy tablet and go about my business, however, being with child prevented me from doing this. I opted to instead walk about with tissue shoved up both nostrils as a makeshift dam. It worked twofold: I didn’t have to constantly blow my ever-leaking nose, and I embarrassed my family to no end. I call that a win-win.

Now, let’s back this pony up twenty years or so to when I moved to Sonoma Couty. Like I said, I have been a life-long allergy sufferer, but in the normal sense. I had childhood asthma and was practically attached to my inhaler year round. My allergies were a minor inconvenience. Then I moved to the quaint hamlet of Petaluma, smack dab in the center of pollen territory.

My eyes, crimson slits
Pollen-soaked air assaults me.
Springtime is a bitch.

SnotI remember being bothered a bit more than usual. My eyes were itchier, my nose a bit runnier, and the roof of my mouth was itching like crazy. Then I took a day trip to the countryside, and my face exploded. My eyes swelled almost shut, the irritation trickle from my nose became a full-fledged flood of mucus, my whole body began to itch, and my asthma was uncontrollable.

I suffered on and off like this for years before I found relief. Thank goodness some awesome allergy medication started becoming available. I remember the day I was prescribed Allegra-D, a life changing event. I went to the doctor begging for something to stop the pain. She took one look at me and almost lost her professional veneer. She looked in my eyes, nose, throat, and ears and declared me the worse allergy sufferer she had ever seen. She even mentioned I would make a great case study. It was felt nice to be validated because I was beginning to think I was going crazy.

My drippy-drip nose.
Why must you despise me so?
I hate allergies.

California has a diverse growing season, and Sonoma and Marin counties are a perfect area for this diversity. Yet, locals like to blame a man named Luther Burbank for this inundation of plant reproductive powder.

Mr. Burbank was a pioneering horticulturist in the late 1800s and engineered nearly 1,000 new plants including the Shasta daisy and the spineless cactus. Born in Massachuttes, Burbank eventually moved to Santa Rosa, California, using the money he earned from the sale of the rights to his “Burbank” potato to finance the trip.

Pollen on the breeze,
Peering out through crimson slits.
Think I’ll stay inside.

Bodega BayAs a result, Burbank’s cross-pollinating fervor has put Sonoma Country on the top list of where not to live if you have seasonal allergies.

You might ask, why live there if it’s so awful? Because it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, at least in my opinion. Plus, allergies only last a couple of months at best.

A/N: Once the topic had been set, it took my husband about three seconds to write his haiku. It took me a bit longer, mostly because I had to keep blowing my nose. Haiku contribution is as follows: Me, me, my hubby, and the last is from both of us. 

Photo credits:

Calistoga Sunrise by Eugene Kim via Flickr Creative Commons License

hope this doesn’t make you sneeze by *Psyche Delia* via Flickr Creative Commons License

Snort by Seika via Flickr Creative Commons License

St. Teresa of Avila by Jan Arendtsz via Creative Commons License



Cynthia Varady

Cynthia Varady

Cynthia Varady is an award-winning freelance writer and co-owner of the book review website, She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. Cynthia has her BA in English Literature from Sonoma State University, and her Masters in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Occasionally, Cynthia can be found voicing characters in casual video games, including Stella in the Aveyond series. She is presently working on a young adult fantasy novel.

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